AP sand scarcity issue: Opposition steps up pressure on Government

Our Bureau Visakhapatnam | Updated on November 04, 2019

CM, YSR Cong leaders blame it on floods

The opposition parties in Andhra Pradesh –Telugu Desam and Janasena in particular – have stepped up pressure on the State Government to address the problem of acute sand scarcity affecting the construction sector, rendering lakhs jobless for the past few months.

Pawan Kalyan, cine star and Janasena leader, who conducted a massive rally here on Sunday evening, came down heavily on the Government for "creating the problem with its ill-advised policies and taking no corrective measures in spite of the hue and cry raised by all sections. As many as 30 construction workers have ended their lives, but the YSR Congress leaders are commenting at my expense for highlighting the issue."

Kalyan has set a two-week deadline for the Government to bring the situation under control. Otherwise, he would launch a stir in Amaravati, the State capital.

All the other parties – BJP, left parties, Lok Satta and others– had lent support to Pawan Kalyan, but only TDP leaders participated in the rally. Senior TDP leader Ch. Ayyanna Patrudu said, "During the freedom struggle, Mahatma Gandhi undertook salt satyagraha. Now, thanks to Jaganmohan Reddy Government, we are forced to undertake sand satyagraha."

On Monday, the BJP state unit demonstrated in Vijayawada to highlight the issue. State BJP leader K. Lakshminarayana said, "The Chief Minister is utterly unresponsive and the ministers are making irresponsible comments, making light of the suicides of construction workers. If the Government does not take immediate corrective steps, we will intensify the stir."

CM's defence

Chief Minister Y.S Jaganmohan Reddy reviewed the sand situation in the State on Monday, and blamed it on the unprecedented floods in the State, with almost all the major rivers in spate. Only 61 out of the 261 sand reaches in the State are now functioning, and as the floodwaters are receding, the situation will gradually ease and sand supply position would improve. "It is a temporary problem, but we are taking all measures to bring the situation under control."

He said the previous TDP Government had looted sand in the State and massive corruption had taken place during the past five years. His Government, he claimed, had formulated a new policy, with online bookings, reducing the scope for corruption and the Government itself was undertaking sand mining in an eco-friendly manner.

A. Rambabu, MLA and senior YSR Congress leader, accused Pawan Kalyan of "dancing to the tune of the TDP and making a mountain out of a molehill." He said the opposition should not politicise the issue and thereby damage the morale of construction workers, prompting them to take the extreme step.

Published on November 04, 2019

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