Finance Minister T.M. Thomas Isaac on Saturday said certain vested interests were trying to scuttle the government move to remove sand from the Malampuzha reservoir and meet the shortage of sand in the State.
Addressing the media after an all-party meeting on removing sand from Malampuzha, the Minister said the government would take steps to transport the sand already removed from the dam in another three weeks, before the onset of monsoon.
He said the “Malampuzha desilting programme gave me the firsthand experience of how organised gangs operated in the State”.
The Minister said vested interests were running a campaign that Malampuzha sand was not of good quality. But two agencies had certified it to be of good quality. “If anybody wants more quality, they can ask for another filtering process for which they have to bear the cost,” the Minister said.
“The mafia also tried to influence the truck owners and others involved in the transport of sand from Malampuzha to prevent it from entering the market,'' the Minister alleged.
Mr. Isaac said a treasury counter was opened at Malampuzha on Saturday where anyone who wanted to buy sand could pay the required amount and get a pass and Kerala Mineral Development Corporation Limited (KMDCL), which is authorised to remove the sand, would supply it for the amount paid.
He said a newspaper advertisement given by the KMDCL on the sale of sand had evoked good response and there were more than 1,000 enquiries in the last two days. “From this, it is clear that there is good demand for the sand from Malampuzha in the market.”
He said SIDCO would sell the sand removed from Malampuzha in Thiruvananthapuram and Kollam from its yards.