Sand exploitation goes unabated in Telangana with political backing

Widespread sand exploitation is occurring across Telangana, with contractors becoming increasingly aggressive under the alleged support of Congress party leaders and the Telangana State Mineral Development Corporation (TSMDC). 

Under the previous KCR government, a policy was implemented to regulate sand quarries, aimed at making sand affordable and accessible. This policy not only generated revenue for the state but also ensured a hassle-free supply to consumers. However, since the Congress party assumed power, irregularities in sand quarry operations have surged.

Currently, sand is being sold at exorbitant prices, burdening consumers. In the name of TSMDC, lorry owners are overloading their vehicles by five or six tons beyond the paid amount. Illegal exploitation is rampant in the Godavari River quarries, with charges ranging from Rs. 2,000 to Rs. 5,000 per lorry. 

From nine quarries, approximately 17,100 tonnes of sand are transported daily to Warangal and Hyderabad in 700 trucks. At Rs. 5,000 per lorry, this extortion amounts to roughly Rs. 30 lakh per day. Contractors and officials, allegedly with the backing of ruling party leaders, are orchestrating this scheme, which has intensified post-Lok Sabha elections. Complaints from lorry owners to TSMDC and district officials have yielded no action.

The state government has set the loading price at TSMDC quarries and yards at Rs. 375 per tonne, including CGST, SGST, service charge, and road damage charges. Loading capacities vary between 16.38 tonnes, 21.06 tonnes, and 26.52 tonnes. Lorry owners pay online via the Sand Sales Management Monitoring System under TSMDC. Despite this, lorry drivers report being approached for additional payments at the quarries. For Rs. 2,000, an extra bucket of sand is loaded; for Rs.4,000, two extra buckets—adding five to six tons per bucket.