Launched with an intention to streamline sand supply and also generate around Rs 500 crore-Rs 600 crores in revenue for the government, the new Sand Policy is now suffocating Andhra Pradesh with a severe crunch of sand. Announced on September 4, 2019, a tonne of sand will be available for Rs 370 only at government-owned stockyards operated by Andhra Pradesh Mineral Development Corp (APMDC).
Rather generating income to the government, the policy is now taking the lives of workers from construction and allied sectors. With the shortage of sand, many of the allied sectors have come to a halt pushing about 19.6 lakh workers’ life into uncertainty and another one million workers indirectly out of a job reportedly. Cement and iron businesses which are the backbone for the construction sector are directly hit and the daily wage workers are ones who fell victim to this ‘chaotic’ policy as dubbed by JanaSena Chief Pawan Kalyan.
But what went wrong with the new sand policy? Didn’t the senior bureaucrats in CMO envision this crunch?
Into the story, this is not the first time, a government zeroed in on the supply of sand and the irregularities. The then Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu brought the DWCRA groups into the scene to sell sand. He announced that 368 DWCRA groups would operate and maintain the mines with the help of an online system for booking sand. However, with an unexpected outrage from certain groups, the system came to halt. After which both the Telangana and Andhra Pradesh took few policies into consideration which didn’t help.
And now, Jagan bringing a GO to ease the scarcity has taken the worst possible form leading to a sand mafia under the shadow of influential people. While the government seems to remain mum, the senior leaders didn’t even bother to speak to media. Oppositions, on the other hand, are announcing rallies and protests in support of the construction workers. Tough launched with an a fair intention, the online system is indirectly favouring the mediators and certain leaders. Many of the unions are organisations are now demanding to make changes in the policy else Jagan and his team would taste their own medicine.