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Free Sand Policy in AP GO 43 on 8 July 2024

Free Sand Policy in AP GO 43 on 8 July 2024

Comprehensive Sand Policy Overhaul in Andhra Pradesh: A Strategic Shift for Sustainable Development

The Government of Andhra Pradesh has recently announced a major overhaul of its sand mining policies, withdrawing the New Sand Mining Policy 2019 and the Upgraded Sand Policy 2021. In their place, an Interim Mechanism has been set up to ensure a seamless supply of sand to consumers without generating any revenue for the government until the formulation of a new Sand Mining Policy in 2024.

Background and Rationale for Policy Change

The New Sand Mining Policy 2019 was introduced to regulate sand mining activities in Andhra Pradesh. It was later upgraded in 2021 to address emerging challenges and improve operational efficiency. However, after a comprehensive review of these policies, the government identified several areas needing improvement to better serve the interests of consumers and address environmental concerns.

Interim Mechanism for Sand Supply

In response to the identified gaps, the Commissioner and Director of Mines & Geology, Andhra Pradesh, submitted a proposal detailing an interim mechanism to manage sand supply until the new policy is formulated. The government has decided to implement this interim mechanism, ensuring sand is supplied to consumers at cost, without any additional revenue share for the state.

Key Objectives of the Interim Mechanism

The primary objectives of the interim mechanism include:

  • Affordable Sand Availability: Ensuring sand is available to consumers at reasonable rates to support construction activities across the state.
  • Transparency in Operations: Enhancing transparency in sand mining and supply operations to prevent illegal activities.
  • Environmental Compliance: Adhering to environmental regulations and court orders to mitigate the impact of sand excavation on the ecosystem.

Structure and Functions of the District Level Sand Committee (DLSC)

The District Level Sand Committee (DLSC) plays a crucial role in managing sand operations at the district level. The committee comprises various officials, including the District Collector (Chairman), Superintendent of Police, Joint Collector, and other relevant officers. Their responsibilities include overseeing sand stock management, de-siltation activities, and ensuring compliance with regulatory requirements.

Management of Existing Sand Stocks

The DLSC is responsible for taking over sand stocks from private depots and ensuring their secure management and disposal. This step aims to streamline sand availability and prevent unauthorized transactions.

De-siltation of Reservoirs and Tanks

The interim mechanism emphasizes the de-siltation of major, medium, and minor reservoirs and tanks to enhance water storage capacity and groundwater recharge. The Water Resources Department (WRD) will prepare feasibility reports and environmental management plans for these activities, ensuring all necessary clearances are obtained.

Implementation of De-siltation Activities

The WRD, in collaboration with the DLSC, will undertake de-siltation activities in compliance with environmental regulations and court directives. Contractors and agencies will be appointed for this purpose, and the de-silted material will be managed by the DLSC for further disposal.

Appointment of Manpower and Agencies

To ensure efficient operations, the DLSC Chairman will appoint stockyard in-charges and other necessary manpower for activities such as excavation, loading, and security. These appointments aim to maintain smooth functioning and strict compliance with the sand policy and regulatory requirements.

Fixation of Sand Rates

Under the interim mechanism, there will be no revenue share for the government. Instead, consumers will only bear the cost of operations, including statutory levies and taxes. The DLSC will determine and notify the charges at each source, adjusting them as needed based on operational costs and regulatory changes.

Sales and Dispatch Procedures

To enhance transparency, the details of sand depots and de-siltation points, including available quantities and charges, will be displayed on the DMG website. Consumers can purchase sand directly from these locations, with all transactions recorded digitally. The dispatch permits will be issued manually initially, with daily dispatch data uploaded online by 8 PM.

Transportation Arrangements

Consumers will arrange their own transportation for sand from the stockyards to their destinations. To assist with this, a list of transporters operating at various locations will be available on the DMG website.

Conclusion

The withdrawal of the existing sand mining policies and the establishment of an interim mechanism mark a significant shift in Andhra Pradesh’s approach to sand mining. By focusing on affordability, transparency, and environmental compliance, the state aims to create a more sustainable and consumer-friendly sand supply system. The new Sand Mining Policy, set to be formulated in 2024, will build on these foundations to ensure the long-term success and sustainability of sand mining operations in Andhra Pradesh.

II. Objectives

a) Making sand available to consumers at affordable rates

b) Transparency and visibility on the sand operations.

c) Prevention of any scope for illegal sand excavation & transportation through an effective vigilance & monitoring mechanism

d) Compliance with all environmental regulations and orders issued by the Hon’ble Supreme Court, Hon’ble High Court and Hon’ble NGT, so as to mitigate the environmental impact of sand excavation.

III. Salient Features

A. District Level Sand Committee:

All sand operations at the district level shall be managed & overseen by the District Level Sand Committee (DLSC) comprising of

a. District Collector: Chairman

b. Superintendent of Police: Member c. Joint Collector: Member

d. Sub-Collector/ RDO Concerned – Member

e. District Enforcement Officer (SEB): Member

f. District Mines & Geology Officer concerned: Member Convener

g. District Panchayat Officer: Member

h. Regional Transport Officer: Member

i. Dy. Director, Ground Water Dept.: Member

j. Executive Engineer, Irrigation/River Conservation: Member

k. Executive Engineer, Rural Water Supply: Member

1. Environmental Engineer, Andhra Pradesh State Pollution Control Board: Member

m. Any other invitees as suggested by the Chairman.

B. Sand Stocks available in existing depots:

The DLSC shall immediately takeover the sand stocks available in the depots maintained by the private agencies.

The DLSC shall take all necessary actions, as required, for safeguarding and further disposal of the stocks.

C. De-siltation of Reservoirs / Tank Beds – Identification:

i. The de-siltation of Major, Medium & Minor Reservoirs and Tanks as defined by the Water Resources Dept., shall be taken up to enhance the storage capacity of the reservoirs and augment Ground Water recharge in Command Areas.

ii. The following authorities shall identify the de-siltation of reservoirs and intimate to the District Level Sand Committee:

a. Major, Medium, Reservoirs Chief Engineer

b. Minor Reservoirs and Tanks – Superintendent Engineer, Water Resources Department of the District.

D. De-siltation of Reservoirs / Tank Beds – Obtaining Clearances & Operations:

i. Water Resources Dept., (WRD) being the custodian of the rivers, canals and reservoirs shall prepare the Feasibility Report along with Environment Management Plan for undertaking de-siltation activities shall obtain Consent for Establishment / Consent for Operation from APPCB by submitting the CTE and CTO applications in the Single desk Portal which will be considered at Zonal office Level.

ii. DM&GO shall assist the EE, Water Resources Department in preparation of feasibility report, so as to facilitate in obtaining CTE/ CTO applications from APPCB, along with Environment Management Plan.

iii. Water Resources Dept., for de-siltation activities taken up by them in the foreshore areas (water spread area at FTL) of Reservoirs / Barrages/ tanks, shall appoint agencies/ boatsman societies for the purpose and DM&GO, with the help of DLSC, shall appoint boatsman societies for de-siltation activities beyond the foreshore areas of Reservoirs/ Barrages/ tanks in river course taken up by Mines & Geology Dept., strictly in compliance with all applicable acts, rules and directions of MOEF&CC, Hon’ble NGT, Hon’ble HC & Hon’ble SC. iv. Chief Engineer concerned of the Water Resources Dept shall identify contractors for de-siltation of major reservoirs such as Prakasam & Dhawaleswaram Barrages, duly taking all necessary permissions and approvals from all the stakeholders concerned strictly in compliance with all applicable acts, rules and directions of MOEF&CC, Hon’ble NGT, Hon’ble HC & Hon’ble SC.

v. The de-silted materials, useful for construction activity shall be handed over to the DLSC for further disposal.

vi. The District Collector shall reimburse the entire cost incurred by the Water Resources Dept., towards obtaining clearances and de-siltation operations from the revenues received from the disposal of sand handed over to DLSC by WRD. strictly in compliance with all applicable acts, rules and directions of MOEF&CC, Hon’ble NGT, Hon’ble HC & Hon’ble SC.

vii. The District Collector shall extend necessary support for obtaining clearances and undertaking de-siltation undertaking de-siltation operations operations (including identifying agencies required) and supervise the smooth functioning of the entire de-siltation activities in the respective districts. strictly in compliance with all applicable acts, rules and directions of MOEF&CC, Hon’ble NGT, Hon’ble HC & Hon’ble SC.

viii. The DLSC shall dispose the sand taken over from the WRD as per the modalities prescribed by the Govt., from time to time. strictly in compliance with all applicable acts, rules and directions of MOEF&CC, Hon’ble NGT, Hon’ble HC & Hon’ble SC.

E. Appointment of Manpower/Other Agencies for Various Activities:

i. The Chairman, DLSC shall appoint VRO/VRAS/ Gram & Ward Sachivalayam officials or any other official, as deemed fit, as stockyard in-charges for each of the sand depots/desiltation points.

ii. The stockyard in-charges shall be responsible for smooth functioning of all the activities such as excavation, loading, sales & dispatches, in strict compliance with the sand policy and all applicable acts & rules. iii. The Chairman, DLSC shall also appoint agencies/manpower to undertake various activities viz. loading, ramp maintenance, security etc.

F. Fixation of rates of sand:

i. There shall be no revenue share to the Government under this policy. However, the cost of operations, along with statutory levies & taxes shall be charged on the consumers.

a. The cost of operations shall include the expenditure for activities such as excavation, loading, transportation to sale point, ramp maintenance, administrative expenses etc.

b. Statutory levies & taxes shall mean Seignorage fee, DMF, MERIT and GST, as applicable.

ii. DLSC shall fix and notify the amount to be charged at each source i.e., depots/de-siltation points, based on the cost of operations along with statutory levies & taxes.

iii. The DLSCS shall be authorized to modify these rates, wherever necessary, taking into consideration the changes in operating costs/ levies & taxes from time to time.

G. Sales & Dispatch:

i. The details of all the depots/desiltation points (referred as “stockyard”) such as location, available quantity, notified charges shall be displayed in DMG Website (www.mines.ap.gov.in) on a daily basis to inform the public.

ii. The consumers requiring sand shall be required to go to their desired stockyard to purchase sand.

iii. At the stockyard, the stockyard in-charge shall

a. Collect all relevant details of the consumer such as Aadhaar number., Mobile number, Delivery Address, Vehicle Number. b. Collect the notified charges through digital mode (i.e., UPI) and issue sale receipt/invoice to the consumer.

c. Allot sand to the consumers on first-come first-serve basis and oversee the loading of sand into the vehicle.

iv. The dispatch permits shall be issued manually on the secured stationary as an immediate measure.

v. The stockyard in-charges shall ensure that the stockyards operate only from 6 AM to 6 PM.

vi. They shall further reconcile the sand dispatches made during the day and upload the daily dispatch data on the online portal developed by DMG by 8 PM every day.

H. Transportation:

i. The consumers shall make their own transportation arrangements for transporting sand from stockyard to destination.

To facilitate this, the list of transporters operating at various locations shall be provided on the website of DMG.

    ii. structures etc.), transportation of sand outside the State and found transporting sand without valid Sand Waybill /invoice shall be penalized as follows;

    Any vehicle transporting sand, if found, carrying sand in excess of the quantity specified in Sand transit form /invoice or in excess of quantity permitted by the Transport Dept., penalty shall be levied on such excess quantity @ Rs.2000/- per MT

    Whenever any person extracts sand or has extracted sand in the areas other than those notified for lawful excavation, the officers authorized shall assess such quantity of sand and levy and collect@ Rs.2,000/-per ton of sand or Rs.2.00 lakhs, whichever is higher, as penalty

    If any stock of sand beyond a person’s reasonable requirement is stocked / hoarded / black marketed / sold, it shall be seized by the officer authorized. The person shall be be punishable with imprisonment up to 2 years and a fine of Rs.2,00,000/- (Rupees Two Lakhs). DLSC shall take-over the seized sand and arrange to dispose the same, at the rates fixed by DLSC.

    Officers authorized to levy, collect penalties and seizure of vehicles from the persons involved in illegal mining / stocking/ hoarding/ selling / black marketing in the State authorized under these rules are as follows:

    a) District Collector (Concerned)

    b) Joint Collector (Concerned)

    c) Superintendent of Police (Concerned)

    d) Additional Superintendent of Police/OSD(Concerned) Sub-Collector/ Revenue Divisional Officer (Concerned)

    f) Tahsildar (Concerned) Mandal.

    g) Sub-Divisional Police Officer (Concerned)

    h) Station House Officer (Concerned)

    i) District/Divisional Panchayat Officer (Concerned)

    j) District Mines & Geology Officer (Concerned)

    k) Any other officer nominated by Dist. Collector (Concerned) /Director of Mines & Geology

    1) SHO (Special Enforcement Bureau), concerned

    m) Additional Superintendent of Police (Special Enforcement Bureau), concerned.

    n) Enforcement Superintendent, Enforcement Bureau), concerned. Division, (Special

    The vehicle/machinery, found involved in any violation more than two times, such vehicle/machinery along with sand shall be seized by officers authorized duly following the procedure as under:

    a) Issue show cause notice to the person/owner from whom the vehicle/machinery is seized.

    b) Immediately take steps by preparing seizure report and produce the vehicle/machinery before the Competent Court to enable the person/owner from whom the vehicle/machinery is seized to file an application under Section 451 of Criminal Procedure Code Cr.P.C/Section 497 of newly enacted Bharatiya Nagarik Surakshit Sanhita, 2023/ appropriate section of Law, for release of vehicle/machinery.

    c) In the alternative, the person/owner from whom vehicle/machinery is to be seized shall be permitted to submit explanation to the show cause notice along with an application to the authorized officer seeking release of vehicle/machinery

    d) Upon receipt of explanation to the show cause notice and the application for release of vehicle/machinery, the authorized officer shall consider the application and pass appropriate orders in accordance with law, within a period of two weeks there from, on production of security of Rs.25,000/- in case of tractor; Rs. 1,00,000/- in case of vehicle upto 10 tonnes capacity; Rs.1,50,000/- in case of vehicle above 10 tonnes capacity and Rs.2,00,000/- for any machinery, in the form of Demand Draft drawn in favour of the authorized officer along with an affidavit/undertaking to produce the seized vehicle/machinery as and when required. e) The fine paid as per the orders of Competent Court; the security furnished as per clause (iv)above shall be deposited in the head of account “0853- 102-81-other receipts” and the original challan shall be sent to the Director of Mines & Geology concerned.

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