Mafia created sand scarcity, says Chandrababu Naidu

Vijayawada: Former Andhra Pradesh chief minister N. Chandrababu Naidu on Thursday alleged that the sand scarcity in the state was created by sand mafia which was active with the full support of Chief Minister Y. S. Jagan Mohan Reddy.

The Telugu Desam Party (TDP) chief said the sand mafia had spread its activities to neighbouring states as the sand from Andhra Pradesh was being transported illegally to Telangana, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.

The leader of the Opposition was addressing the party workers at 12-hour-long fast undertaken by him here over the sand scarcity.

Claiming that the man made scarcity of sand has brought the construction activity in the state to a halt, he said over 35 lakh workers have lost their livelihood.

Naidu alleged that about 50 workers committed suicide as they were not finding the work in the absence of construction activity. He said that despite the suicides, YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) government was not responding to the situation.

Targeting Jagan Mohan Reddy, the TDP leader alleged that after creating a sand shortage, he entered into a secret deal with certain cement companies. He said YSRCP MLAs and other leaders were given licenses for sand extraction.

Naidu also alleged that they encroached upon the sand reaches and were not allowing farmers to collect the sand from their fields. He demanded immediate steps to stop the illegal transport of sand to cities like Hyderabad, Chennai and Bengaluru. “If the government wants it can stop the illegal transport in one day,” he said.

The former chief minister said free sand policy as implanted during the TDP rule was the only solution. He demanded that sand be made available to people free of cost.

Naidu demanded financial assistance of Rs 10,000 per month each to all the construction workers and Rs 25 lakh compensation for the kin of those workers who committed suicide.

He also slammed the chief minister for making personal attacks on Jana Sena leader Pawan Kalyan for leading long march in Visakhapatnam over sand scarcity.

Naidu said personal attacks were being made or false cases were being slapped against those questioning the government.