Vijayawada, Sep 23 (): Sand costs more than rice in Andhra. Andhra government stopped sand mining through an order and is yet to declare a sand mining policy.
Due to the non-availability of sand, the price has reached Rs 40,000 per lorry while it was Rs 9000 per load from authorized sand mining areas. A a 50 kg bag costs Rs 120, which works out to Rs 2 a kg. Rice at fair price shop is Re 1. The builders who are unable to buy from illegal mined sources at exorbitant prices have stopped buying it. They have jointly decided to stop construction work in the capital zone. Nearly 25 lakh workers have been left jobless.
CREDAI, the body that represents builders has asked the minister to restore status quo that existed before September 1. On August 28, the government ordered that sand mining be stopped that was implemented from the start of next month.
CREDAI says builders who were buying from illegal sources too have stopped as they fear that officials will raid and seize them. As projects get delayed, builders have to keep paying interest to banks. Government says that some procedural delays are coming in the way of new sand mining policy.
Construction industry needs 300 lorries of sand everyday. Irrigation department has identified three reaches in Krishna district for the material and soon a notification will come. The Krishna and Guntur districts had several quarries that send sand but as demand rose, the mafia formed a cartel and operated only two to increase the price. The government had to step in to halt this.
Guntur SP who had earned credit for tackling red sanders smuggling in Chitoor to a great extent managed to curb illegal mining. He posted pickets outside authorized quarries and checked the bills issued to lorries and their numbers were noted down. Miners sent out lorries on a single out pass to avoid taxation.