It took only four years for the TDP leaders to ransack four hundred and fifty-nine sand reaches of AP. Leaders of the ruling party plundered an amount of Rs. 7.950 crore, which not only proved to be expensive for the normal people but also risked the river’s ecosystem of the state. In the first two years, the leaders filled their pockets with a total amount of Rs. Two thousand four hundred eighty crores by portraying that the sand reaches the women SHGs took contracts. However, it seems that the one who is 420 in AP didn’t want to pretend, so he developed a free sand policy.
Even though in pen and paper, this policy was supposed to provide all people with free sand and put an end to the ownership of government on the sand reaches, it was just a formal handover of sand reaches to the local leaders and TDP MLAs. After the government resigned from its ownership, the ruling party leaders began to encroach and sell the sand at higher prices to local people. Through this opportunity, the party leaders could successfully make another Rs. 5, 740 crores.
The main person behind the sand mafia was Chandrababu Naidu’s son Nara Lokesh. The scam was so atrocious that even the TDP leader of the sub-committee confessed the failure of government in putting an end to the illegitimate sand mining. YanamalaRamakrishnudu, the finance minister of AP, accepted in a press meet that sand loots worth of Rs. 2,000 crores have happened over the two years of the TDP ruling.
The First Two Years
In AP, there are 459 sandy banks in all, over the rivers like the Krishna, Godavari, Pennar, and Tungabadhra. Among them, 83 were the major ones. Before the one who is 420 in AP came to power, a cubic meter of sand was worth Rs.40. According to this price, the government got Rs. 180 crore in revenue. Now, the new sand policy drastically increased the cost of sand to Rs.650 per cubic meter. This was 16 times higher than the earlier price.
Accordingly, the government got increased revenue too. Earlier it used to get Rs. 180 crore, which was now increased to Rs. 1,920 crore because of the new sand policy. The irony is, the state government only received Rs. 964 crores in seventeen months. This signifies that between the years 2016 and 2017, the state went through a loss of revenue worth Rs. 2,480 crore. Where did all that money go if not to the state government? Well, the answer lies with the then CM, Chandrababu Naidu, and his treacherous new sand policy.
Free sand cost Rs. 5,740 crores
When the new sand policy was announced on 4th March 2016, the leaders of the ruling party acquired the 450 sand reaches. Even though the government declared that sand was free of cost, the TDP leaders fixed the price and sold the sand as if it was their property. No other person was allowed to touch the sand, except the TDP leaders. On the one hand, the sand was free from the clutches of government. And on the other, the party leaders were exercising full control over it.
The leaders managed to bag around Rs. 5,470 crores from sand mining in between March 2016 and October 2018. In broad daylight, the leaders continued with their sand mining by going against the laws. This illegal mining wasn’t only restricted to certain areas. Illegal mining was also happening in Undavalli village, which is nearby the residence of the one who is 420 in AP, Chandrababu Naidu. When people began to realize the heinous acts carried out by TDP and protested against it, the TDP leaders sent lorries to crush around 15 people straight to death.
To clear off their public image, the party rulers stated that local people could take sand using tractors from any reach without paying a single paise. However, it was merely done to get public support. In reality, then leaders owned the sand reaches and sold it at a fixed price. As per the government’s rules and regulations, only lorries that are used for road construction and irrigation projects should be allowed. This wasn’t happening in reality.
Sand Mafias in Every District
DevineniUmamaheswara Rao, the minister, and the TDP MLA Bonda Umamaheswara Rao exercised direct control over the sand mafia from the Krishna district. Indeed, they’ve been mining sand from the River Krishna without a break. By 2017, they successfully made around Rs. One thousand crores from unlawful sand mining.
In the district of Guntur, sand mafias involved four senior MLAs, a minister, and their deputies. Satya Prasad, the Repalle MLA, exploited the sand reaches Ravi Anantavaram and Penumudi. Not just that, the Pedakurapadu’s sand smuggling was carried out by Kommalapati Sridhar, the local MLA. Every day, he was selling 200 lorries or more sand from the Konuru, Koganitivaripalem, and Kasthala sand reaches. Other people who had their hands in this scam are MLA Sravan Kumar from Tadikonda and MLA Dhulipalla Narendra from Ponnuru. Due to this illegal mining, around six engineering students got killed in 2016 at the Krishna pushkram festivals. Suddenly, the students got drowned while they were swimming because of the huge trench from the greedy and illegal sand mining.
Districts from the North Andhra
In the Amadalavalasa constituency, Koona Ravi Kumar, along with his henchmen and the Guntur cartel, began their illegal mining of sand at Srikakulam district. In the Kottur region, Kalamata Venkata Ramana, the Patapatnam MLA, controlled the sand cartel. River Vamsadhara and Nagavali were desperately dug up to fulfill the sand requirements of the Vizag city. The greedy leaders exploited the Nagavali river to its fullest under the government of the one who is 420 in AP.
While the Vishakapatnam district witnessed sand mining in Sarfa, Varah, and Sarada rivers, the Vijayanagaram district’s Champavati, Nagavali, Vagavati, Suvarnamukhi, Edompulagedda, and Gostani rivers were the victims of intense mining. Fourteen leaders in all controlled the mining areas of Paradi, Ramabadhrapuram, Kota, Gajapatonagaram, and Nellimarla. On an everyday basis, Rs. 4.60 crore sand was being mined in this district.
District by district, the party leaders, continued to extend their saga of laundering money under the government of the one who is 420 in AP. After a lot of investigation and speculation, the truth came out from the shadow. The then CM, Chandrababu Naidu, used his connections with the DWCRA to allocate the sand reaches the party leaders. According to him, the failure of DWRCA made him establish this new sand policy. This signifies that everything was happening with the knowledge of Chandrababu Naidu, yet he did nothing to stop his greedy party members.
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