The Andhra Pradesh government intends to engage Central government entities to excavate, store and sell sand in the state, the state cabinet, which met on Thursday, decided. "Sand excavation, storage and sale operations shall be undertaken by the Central government agencies appointed on nomination basis on terms and conditions as prescribed by the state government," said a cabinet meeting note detailing the key takeaway points.
The state government aims to appoint Central public undertakings with the premium amount fixed by it and payable to the government of Andhra Pradesh, in addition to seigniorage fee and other levies. â€śUnder the new sand policy, auctions will be limited for the sand reaches and assign them to central public undertakings first and incase if they don't come forward, then to private entities through open tenders. The users can directly go to the reaches and transport sand using their own vehicles without any additional cost,â€ť an official statement said.
The state government has already instructed the Director of Mines and Geology Department to explore the possibility of nominating Central government agencies to undertake sand mining operations in the state.
"In case no response is received from the Central government agencies, sand operations shall be entrusted to a technically experienced, competent and financially strong agency (or agencies) selected through a two-bid system," said the note.
Meanwhile, all the sand reaches will be classified into three packages, in the following manner.
Package 1 will include Srikakulam, Vizianagaram, Visakhapatnam and East Godavari districts, while package 2 will include West Godavari, Krishna, Guntur and Prakasam districts and package 3 will include Nellore, Anantapur, Chittoor, Kurnool and Kadapa districts.
Separate tenders will be called for each package. The government will fix the prices for buying sand at the reach and for door delivery (based on the distance). Sand can be booked on both online and offline.
"Sand reaches in the scheduled areas will continue to be granted and operated by tribal societies in accordance with Panchayats Extension to Scheduled Areas (PESA) Rules, 2011," said the note.
In an effort to supply quality sand, production from patta lands will be discontinued and sand production will be allowed only from open reaches.
Explainer: All you need to know about Andhra's new sand policy
Explained: How the politics around sand has claimed three lives in Andhra