Andhra CM launches toll-free number to curb sand smuggling

Amaravati (Andhra Pradesh) [India], Nov 18 (ANI): In a bid to curb sand smuggling, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy on Monday launched a toll-free number to register complaints or irregularities around sand hoarding, pricing and smuggling.

Reddy launched toll-free number 14500 earlier today. Complaints can be made to the toll-free number for irregularities, which would attract penal action.

According to the Chief Minister's Office (CMO) release, illegal mining in the state has led to a loss of Rs 300-400 Crores to the exchequer.

After the launch here on Monday, the Chief Minister dialled the number and gave his suggestions to the employees of the Call Centre 14500.

The Andhra Pradesh government made 2.4 lakh tonnes of sand available today for booking against less than a quarter of daily demand to address the environment of false scarcity created by the opposition.

The CM has asked to implement 439 checkpoints -- all equipped with two hi-end cameras that can record in the night, 118 mobile patrols, 3,200 ex-servicemen being deployed to create a stronger surveillance across five borders. This will be created by December 2019 to ensure that hitherto illegal sand being sent to Bangalore, Hyderabad, Chennai is completely stopped.

The State Government has issued orders for taking stringent action against those who violate the sand policy. An action would be taken against those who hoard, resell or transport sand illegally and such violations would attract a fine of Rs 2 lakh and imprisonment of up to two years.

According to the new sand policy, consumers should log in to register their names on the website. The sand can be booked online, and the prescribed amount can be paid either through online or MeeSeva centres and can choose the stock point nearer to their location on the website itself.

One of the officials from the government said that the launch of this toll-free number is in continuation to the progressive sand policy introduced recently and is one of the several steps taken by the current government to curb the corruption to bring about a systemic change and put the state back into a path of progress.

Reddy is taking structural and systemic changes to set right the damage caused to the state, environment and 300-400 crore loss to the state exchequer due to smuggling and additional 400 plus crores loss due to sand being given away freely.The current sand policy makes the sand available at Rs 375 per tonne at government-owned stockyards operated by Andhra Pradesh Mineral Development Corp (APMDC). The corporation has set up 41 stock points spread across 13 districts. (ANI)