Former Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu will undertake a day-long fast at Vijayawada on November 14 over sand shortage, which has hit the construction industry and led to suicide by some workers last month.
Addressing Telugu Desam Party (TDP) workers in Vijayawada on Tuesday, Naidu demanded a free sand policy like the one implemented by his government.
Naidu's decision to undertake the fast follows the 'long march' by Jana Sena party leader Pawan Kalyan in Visakhapatnam on Sunday, which evoked a good response.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has also organised 'sand satyagrah' to protest against the YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) government's failure to address the issue.
Pawan Kalyan claimed that sand shortage had claimed 36 lives in October and pushed around 30 lakh workers dependent on the construction sector into distress.
The opposition parties have blamed the YSRCP government for the sand shortage as immediately after coming to power in May, it banned sand mining. Last month, it announced a new sand policy to sell sand online. However, it failed to meet the huge demand. The scarcity jacked up sand price and affected the construction activity.
Dismissing the opposition's allegations as 'false propaganda', the government has attributed sand shortage to the recent heavy rains and floods.
Chief Minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy said the sand shortage was temporary and would be over soon after the floods.
He alleged that during the past five years, the TDP government allowed sand mafia, which was drawing sand mechanically and indiscriminately.
"We are allowing only manual mining, which makes a lot of difference. The guidelines of the new sand policy are designed to benefit poor people," he said.