The opposition has managed to create a sandstorm in Andhra Pradesh over the shortage of sand for the construction sector. The YSRCP government which junked its predecessor’s free sand policy, could not implement its sand-for-a-fee policy from 5 September because heavy floods in the Krishna and Godavari meant sand could not be mined. That created a scarcity of sand, impacting the construction sector.
Enter Chandrababu Naidu and Pawan Kalyan. The TDP alleged that 50 construction workers have committed suicide because of no sand, no work. The government says there has not been a single death due to sand crisis and insists the opposition is lying. The truth lies somewhere in between.
On one hand, there is the keenness of the opposition that wants to show the YSRCP government as incompetent and encouraging a sand mafia, on the other hand, there is the arrogance of the ruling party that believes it is more important to shout back at the opposition than taking steps to address the situation.
Better late than never, the government has got its act together by supplying 2 lakh tonnes of sand to the sand depots in all the 13 districts on Saturday. People can book sand online and get it delivered to the location. While people are unhappy that they now need to pay for sand (unlike earlier when it was free on paper though they had to pay unofficially to local strongmen who had political backing), the government will stand to gain important revenue of up to Rs 500 crore per annum.
In Episode 3 of Decode The South, we put the issue in perspective (See video). Like, Share, Subscribe !