The video made by construction workers in Andhra is a dig at the state's new sand policy that has allegedly led to scarcity of sand, and loss of jobs for workers.

Watch Unemployed Andhra construction worker serves rare delicacy to guests
news Protest Monday, November 04, 2019 - 19:15

"Our Seenu is serving a delicacy today,” says a man, as he and two other men are seen entering a house, sniggering. A group of men are seen sitting on the floor to have a meal, as their friend Seenu serves the 'delicacy'. The delicacy however is not any famous dish from Andhra Pradesh but platefuls of sand.  In a video protesting the scarcity of sand in Andhra Pradesh, a group of construction laborers have made the video that is being shared widely on groups now. 

Thanking the ‘host’ and wishing prosperity on his family, one of the ‘guests’ says, “We don't have any food and there is a shortage of sand as well. Now I can sell this sand and buy 2 kilos of rice.” 

The video is a sardonic account of the plight of construction workers, who have been pushed to unemployment for nearly five months. So far, a total of six people in the state have reportedly ended their lives over the issue due to no income.

In addition to natural scarcity of sand, the situation was exacerbated by the new government policy on sand mining and its poor implementation. As a result, the price of sand, too, has gone up. 

According to the Times of India, the video was made by a group of construction workers from Ibrahimpatnam mandal in Krishna district, near Vijayawada. The ‘Seenu’ from the video is Srinivasa Rao, who himself is a mason, who has been unemployed for the last few months due to sand shortage, according to the report. The other men in the video are reportedly Srinivasa Rao’s fellow workers, who have been facing the same problems. 

Construction work in the state has been stalled ever since the YSRCP government came to power in May and banned sand mining. The YSRCP had accused the previous TDP government of abetting illegal sand mining by favouring those associated with the ruling party. 

In September, the state government announced a new sand policy to sell sand online but failed to meet the huge demand since then. The government then attributed the sand scarcity in the state to the floods, because of which, sand cannot be extracted. 

Opposition parties have also slammed the YSRCP government for its inaction, and for the deaths of construction workers. On Sunday, Jana Sena Party chief Pawan Kalyan held a ‘long march’ in Visakhapatnam, protesting the issue and demanding that the government compensate workers for the loss of income within two weeks. While the TDP extended support to the rally, the BJP and Left parties, who refrained from the Jana Sena march, have announced their own ‘sand satyagrahas’.


Explained: How the politics around sand has claimed three lives in Andhra

Explainer: All you need to know about Andhra's new sand policy




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