B. Madhu Gopal

Vigilance Wing of Mines and Geology Department seeks details from VPT

Traders trying to pass the product labelling it as ‘pulverised’ sand

GO bans export of sand in any form, says official

VISAKHAPATNAM: The tremendous demand for sand as a result of heavy construction activity in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands in the aftermath of tsunami has prompted unscrupulous traders to export sand.

River sand, reportedly being procured from Srikakulam, Vizianagaram and East Godavari districts, is being illegally exported through the Visakhapatnam Port. The Vigilance Wing of the Department of Mines and Geology has detected the illegal exports a few days ago.

Penalty

The State government has issued a GO (M.S. No. 84) in April 2007 banning export of sand from Andhra Pradesh to other parts of the country. The export of sand is prohibited even if the leaseholder obtains royalty for extraction of the sand.

“We have written to the Traffic Manager of Visakhapatnam Port Trust (VPT) seeking details of the sand exported from April 10, 2007, till date.

“We will ascertain the details of the original procurers through the shipping companies and levy penalties accordingly. Some Rs.4 lakhs has been collected from two exporters as penalties and royalties during the past few days,” Zonal Joint Director of Mines and Geology N. Subrahmanyam told The Hindu on Thursday.

“This is only the tip of the iceberg and we are hopeful that the details to be given by the VPT will yield information on further violations regarding sand exports,” he said.

“The exporters are trying to pass of the product labelling it as ‘pulverised’ sand. There is a ban on export of sand in any form,” said Assistant Director of Mines and Geology (Vigilance) G.V.V.S. Chowdary.

“The Vigilance Wing, since its inception in January this year, has collected Rs.91 lakhs as penalties and royalties for various violations with respect to mines and minerals in the district.

“An additional amount of Rs.59 lakhs would be collected as evasion of royalties and penalties was detected,” Mr. Subrahmanyam added.