Andhra Pradesh government on Tuesday said it will come out with a new sand policy once the study on factors like its impact on environment and affordability for middle class and poorer sections of the society is done. Speaking in the Legislative Assembly on the proposed policy, Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu said sand has become an essential commodity in present times as it is required for any construction activity.
"However, it's availability is scarce and the overexploitation of water bodies for sand would have serious impact on environment," he said. Admitting that the present policy is not fool-proof, Naidu said the government would come out with a new sand policy as soon as possible and it could be approved in the next Cabinet meeting.
The present sand policy, introduced in August 2014, gave the responsibility for management and delivery of sand to customers to the self-help groups. The policy allocates 25 per cent of the net inflows to women's self help groups and 25 per cent for the welfare of farmers. State Minister for Mines and Geology Peethala Sujatha made a statement on the issue. The policy resulted in a net inflow of Rs 548.57 crore to the government in just one year through sand sales.
"However, certain issues cropped up in implementing the policy," the statement said. These issues include dilution of feeling of ownership of the community as officers had a major role to play, reduced supply of sand as sand reaches are operational only on a 12-hour shift basis and challenges in installing modern technology like CCTVs, fitting GPS to vehicles and internet connectivity. The government is considering various factors to improve the policy, the statement added.