New sand policy to focus on keeping sand prices reasonable and making it abundantly available in market

The State government is all set to do away with auctioning of sand reaches. It wants to allot them through drawal of lots and allow mining only under the supervision of village and mandal level committees.

The objective of doing away with auctions is to keep the sand prices reasonable and make it abundantly available in the market.

Reverse bidding

It is also considering introduction of reverse bidding where sellers compete to offer lower bids than their competitors.

The new policy, which is being given final touches by the Group of Ministers, will have strict provisions to prevent illegal transport of sand and sand mining.

Instead of imposing penalties, the lorries and machinery would be confiscated.

“As the lorries and heavy machinery would cost lakhs of rupees, it should act as a deterrent for the illegal operators and aid in better enforcement of law,” sources said.

Apart from allowing sand mining in river beds which require environmental clearance, the government is also considering allowing lifting of sand near other water bodies which do not require environmental clearance. For instance sand could be allowed to be lifted from the upper reaches of Prakasam, Dhawaleswaram barrages which otherwise would be carried into the sea.

New sand reaches

The GoM, comprising Minister for Mines Galla Aruna and others identified 79 more sand reaches in the State based on rivers, rivulets and irrigation project reservoirs for mining purpose. With this, the total number of reaches to be exploited would go up to 115 as 36 reaches were already being mined.

In place of open auction, the government will fix a specific price for sand reach depending on the quantity available and draw lots to lease it out. Under this process, sand will be available at lesser prices.

Requirement

While 34 lakh cubic metres of sand is secured through the 36 sand reaches now as against the State’s annual requirement of 2 crore cubic meters, the new 79 sand reaches will ensure supply of 1.41 crore cubic metres of sand.

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