Vijayawada: For the first time in the country, people in Andra Pradesh can avail sand free of cost as the state Cabinet today decided to include it in the list of essential commodities.
A decision in this regard was taken at a meeting of the state Cabinet which gave its nod to a new policy. The state government is expected to forego a revenue of over Rs 200 crore, Agriculture Minister P Pulla Rao told reporters.
In the meeting chaired by Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu, it was decided that effective measures should be enforced to prevent misuse of the new policy, particularly to ensure there’s no smuggling of sand out of the state.
Last week, Naidu mooted the idea of supplying sand free of cost to ease the burden especially on common people.
The Preventive Detention Act would be slapped on those who tried to illegally ship sand out of the state.
“Sand mined from different reaches should be used only for specific purposes and cannot be stored. It can’t be used for landfill as well,” the minister said.
Builders would have to bear only the transportation cost to carry sand from the respective reaches.
Contractors executing government construction works would have to proportionately cut the costs as sand would be supplied free.
“They may be charging Rs 500 per cubic meter for the sand component. Now that sand will henceforth be available free, contractors have to reduce this cost from the overall project cost,” Pulla Rao said.
Following the Cabinet decision, the state Industries Department (Mining) is expected to issue detailed guidelines on the new sand policy in the next couple of days, official sources said.