Tadepalli: The ”Sand Issue” in Andhra Pradesh is taking twists and turns in the recent past. The main opposition party, Telugu Desam and other opposition parties, who are defaming the current government for all and sundry have used the issue for their political gains. However, the facts and ground situation are completely different.
Farmers migrated in search of livelihood during Chandrababu Naidu regime
People from other districts migrate to cities in search of livelihood and it goes without saying that they become forced construction labourers. The usual practice is that small and marginal farmers from the drought prone Anantapur, Prakasam, Srikakulam and Vizianagaram districts would migrate to cities in search of livelihood and it goes without saying that they become forced construction labourers. In 2016, a report in Times of India has stated that lakhs of farmers have migrated to Karnataka and Kerala in search of livelihood during Chandrababu Naidu regime. Majority of them were from Rayalaseema and north coastal Andhra districts.
Copious rains this year rekindled hopes in farming leading to reverse migration
However, this year, Andhra Pradesh, mostly the drought prone and backward districts like Anantapur, Prakasam, Srikakulam and Vizianagar districts received copious rains. In fact, the rains were unprecedented and the reverse migration is there to witness for everyone. As a result of heavy rains during this season, migration of small and marginal farmers has stopped. The rains rekindled their hopes in farming. YSR Raithu Bharosa scheme (financial aid to the farmers depending on their land holding) came to the rescue of small and marginal farmers, who wished to resume farming again instead of migrating to cities and towns in search of livelihood.
Sand mining possible only in 62 reaches due to rivers flooding
Another crucial aspect to be glanced at is that all the reservoirs in Andhra Pradesh are filled with water to the brim and the rivers are flowing from end to end. With rivers flowing incessantly, there is no possibility of sand mining from the river beds.
Sand can only be mined only if the rivers stop flowing and sand dunes emerge from the river bed. It is not only dangerous but life threatening should one attempt to mine sand from flowing rivers. Of the 267 available sand reaches in the state presently mining is possible only in 62 reaches. Under such circumstances, is it possible to provide adequate quantity of sand to the construction sector?
Raids on illegal sand reaches by the vigilance department
While sand mining is almost impossible due to overflowing rivers, another important aspect one should look at is raids on illegal sand reaches by the vigilance department of the Andhra Pradesh government. Lakhs of tones of sand, allegedly mined illegally and hoarded by TDP leaders – from village level to the state level including MLAs, former MLA and important functionaries – are being unearthed. Illegal hoarding led to artificial scarcity. Rains are receding of late and abundant quantity of sand will be made available to the construction sector in a short period.
Besides, in a bid to provide employment to labourers, Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy has strictly directed the officials to use only manual labour for sand mining and not to use machinery.
Negative campaign launched by the TDP
However, there is no truth in the negative campaign being launched by the TDP that lakhs of construction labourers are rendered jobless. This is not true. There is also no truth in the malicious campaign being launched by the opposition leaders that construction labourers are committing suicide in large numbers. Majority of the suicides were due to personal reasons, but the deliberate mudslinging is continuing and it looks like the intention is nothing but to malign the image of the State government.
Chandrababu Naidu defaming the government on flimsy grounds
The ground reality is something different. Reservoirs, dams, tanks and lakes are full to the brim thanks to the unprecedented rains in the state. Farmers, who would migrate to cities and towns and stayed back in their respective villages and resumed farming work. The lands, which used to be parched all through the year, are now turning green. Farmers are busy with agricultural activity and farm labourers are too getting some livelihood. Like never in the past, Srisailam dam flood gates were opened about ten times this season alone. Krishna, Godavari and their tributaries are overflowing.
The leader of opposition, N Chandrababu Naidu and others are defaming the YS Jagan Mohan Reddy government on flimsy grounds. They are indulging in mudslinging on every issue.
Chandrababu Naidu extending support to Pawan Kalyan’s protest march
Look at the venue of the Long March…. Visakhapatnam. He did not plan it on the banks of Krishna, Godavari or Vamshadhara as he would be forced to see himself the overflowing rivers. Pawan Kalyan, who is busy targeting Jagan Mohan Reddy government from day, did not take up any protest programme during the five year rule of Chandrababu Naidu.
While Jagan Mohan Reddy was in Opposition, Pawan Kalyan targeted him and when Jagan Mohan Reddy is power, the same Pawan Kalyan is indulging in mudslinging.
The state government has allowed sand mining wherever it possible. Thanks to the copious rains, there will be no dearth of sand for the next five years. Why would any government create sand scarcity? Nature blessed the state with good rains as a result farming activity has picked up across the state. Things would return to normal in ten days.
People of Andhra Pradesh are wise enough and they have reposed their faith in Jagan Mohan Reddy by electing him Chief Minister of the State. They are wise enough to understand the evil designs of Chandrababu Naidu, his foster son Pawan Kalyan and his cronies.
The Green Tribunal has imposed a fine of Rs 100 crore on the then TDP government for illegal sand mining. This should not be forgotten. With the change of guard in Andhra Pradesh and the YSRCP government’s new sand policy, illegal income of thousands of crores of rupees has stopped. The common belief is that political conspiracy of the main opposition party and struggle for existence of another political party, are the reasons for blowing things out of proportion.
While monitoring the situation very closely, the chief minister has asked the officials to take stringent action against those who try to smuggle sand or indulge in irregularities. (Issued by Advisor for National Media and Inter State Affairs, Govt. of A.P.)