Posted on December 1, 2020
Continuous rains, quality issues lead to its scarcity in the district
Continuous rains during south-west monsoon till October-end and also heavy rains during the third week of November due to Cyclone Nivar has led to a scarcity of sand in Anantapur district making it a precious commodity with a lorry full of sand costing anywhere above ₹30,000 depending on the urgency and location of delivery.
While the current daily demand is between 4,000 tonnes and 5,000 tonnes, the supply is only between 2,000 tonnes and 3,000 tonnes.
The most dependable reaches with good quality sand with an estimated over 5 lakh tonnes of reserves in the Chitravathi Balancing Reservoir backwaters has gone out of reach due to the State government’s decision to impound 10 tmcft of water against the 4.5 to 5 tmcft being stored for the past decade. In all, 16 lakh tonnes of sand was excavated and despatched to the consumers in the past several months after the new sand policy of booking sand online came into existence.
“The most productive ones were four reaches in Uppalapadu, one each in PC Revu and CC Revu, which now have to be dredged if we need sand, but a proper dredging operation would cost close to ₹20 lakh, which might not be economical,” Assistant Geologist and District Sand Officer Konda Reddy told The Hindu.
All the sand available in the Patta lands is exhausted and even the quantity stored at Bukkarayasamudram is used only for plastering, and some large part of it is said to be of terrible quality and hence no takers for that. Currently, the excavation is being done at very small reaches in minuscule quantities, but that does not happen without a quality check, says Mr. Konda Reddy.
New reaches identified
The District Sand Committee has identified 13 new reaches with a yield probability of 6 lakh tonnes and has written to the Central agencies for environment clearances. Once received, the reaches would be thrown open for excavation.
Currently, only five out of 12 reaches in Patta lands are functional, and one open reach in Pamidi is working after a gap due to some local dispute over excavation, though there are six permitted in the district. In the newly-amended sand policy announced this month, online booking will be done away with from January 1 and consumer books directly at the reach and the depots would also be removed.