New sand policy comes into effect in Andhra Pradesh

VIJAYAWADA : The new sand policy is being implemented across the State from July 8. Principal Secretary (Mines) N Yuvaraj on Monday issued GO No. 43 withdrawing the existing sand policies i.e., New Sand Mining Policy 2019, and Upgraded Sand Policy 2021, and replacing them with an Interim Mechanism for Sand Supply till formulation of Sand Policy, 2024 for the State. The sale of sand under the new policy will be implemented in a full-fledged manner from Tuesday.

In 2016, the then TDP government introduced the Revised Sand Policy, 2016 making sand available to the public fee of cost from March 2, 2016. However, in 2019, the YSRC government replaced the same with a new sand policy, and upgraded the same in 2021.

The TDP-led NDA government, which came to power in 2024, conducted a thorough review of the existing sand policy (New Sand Mining Policy 2019, and Upgraded Sand Policy 2021) and the status of current sand operations in the State, and observed that there is an imminent need to improve it by formulating a comprehensive sand policy, 2024 so that the interests of consumers are protected, and environmental and other concerns are addressed properly.

Following it, the Commissioner and Director of Mines and Geology submitted a report with detailed modalities as an Interim Mechanism for Sand Supply till formulation of Sand Policy, 2024.

In the orders issued for the implementation of the interim mechanism for sand supply, it was observed that sand is a basic input for the construction sector, which employs a large number of people, directly and indirectly. Unless the cost of sand is kept under reasonable check, there is a likelihood of adverse socio-economic consequences of unemployment, loss of wages, and an impact on the investment climate and industrialisation process in the State.

The main objectives of the new mechanism are making sand available to consumers at affordable rates, transparency, and visibility of sand operations, prevention of any scope for illegal sand excavation and transportation through an effective vigilance and monitoring mechanism, compliance with all environmental regulations and orders issued by the Supreme Court, High Court and National Green Tribunal, to mitigate the environmental impact of sand excavation.

Under the new mechanism, the District Level Sand Committees (DLSCs) headed by the Collectors have been constituted. They will take over the sand stocks available in the existing depots, which were in the hands of private firms till now. They will safeguard the sand stocks and distribute the construction material as per requirement.

The DLSC will appoint VRO/VRAs/ Gram and Ward Secretariat officials or any other official, as deemed fit, as stockyard in-charges for each of the sand depots/desiltation points. There will be no revenue share to the government under the new policy.

However, the cost of operations, along with statutory levies and taxes will be charged from consumers. The DLSC will be authorised to modify these rates, wherever necessary, taking into consideration the changes in operating costs/ levies and taxes from time to time. The DLSC will also appoint agencies/manpower to undertake various activities viz. loading, ramp maintenance, security, etc.

The desiltation of major, medium and minor reservoirs and tanks as defined by the Water Resources Department will be taken up to enhance the storage capacity of the reservoirs and augment groundwater recharge in command areas. The department will prepare the feasibility report along with the environment management plan to undertake de-siltation activities, and obtain consent for establishment /consent for operation from APPCB.

The information about the sand stockyards will be uploaded dynamically on the website www. daily. Sand will be sold from 6 am to 6 pm. GPS-based vehicle tracking should be mandated to enable tracking of sand despatches.

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