As soon as YSRCP came into power, the government scrapped the existing policies for liquor and introduced new policies promising to avoid corruption and bring efficiency to the existing systems. After one year of implementing these policies, the reality is far from what has been promised to the people.
The new sand policy introduced by the YSRCP government replacing the ‘Free Sand Policy’ of the TDP government. The new policy failed to achieve its targets of curtailing hoarding, black market and controlling the prices. Under the new policy, the prices of the sand shot up compared to the earlier policy. With the local leaders from the ruling party hoarding the sand, the state faced a shortage of sand. Because of this artificial shortage, the customers were forced to buy sand in the black market at exorbitant prices.
According to the reports it was found that the local level ruling party leaders are colluding with the Police department and transporting the sand to the neighboring states of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, and Telangana causing crores of rupees loss to the exchequer. There has been a substantial increase (178%) in smuggling activity (Krishna district). As many as 230 cases related to sand smuggling have reportedly been registered and 640 people booked between October to November 2019.
It is found that the cronies of the ruling party abused every possible loophole in the policy to earn thousands of crores of rupees. Opposition leader and former Minister of Information and Public Relations in the TDP government – K. Srinivasulu, stated that local YSRCP leaders smuggle sand from local rivers to Bellary and Bengaluru in Karnataka. It is only after receiving criticism from the people and the opposition parties, the government constituted a cabinet sub – committee to review the existing sand policy.
Phase wise abolition of liquor is the key manifesto promise of YSRCP. Andhra Pradesh is one of the very few states that opened liquor shops during the pandemic. In May 2020, the state government decided to open the liquor shops stating dwindling revenues. Prices were increased by 25% to discourage liquor consumption. Smuggling and black markets flourished with the increase in liquor prices. Liquor from the neighbouring states of Telangana was smuggled into the state under the supervision of the ruling party’s associates.
The state government took another U – turn and slashed the prices of the liquor to avoid smuggling. During October 2020, the Revenue Special Chief Secretary Rajat Bhargava issued an order reducing the rates of liquor by Rs. 50 to Rs. 1,350 per bottle quoting a report submitted by the Special Enforcement Bureau. As per the field reports, it was found that the ruling party leaders are introducing their brands of liquor into the market to earn revenue.
On reviewing the liquor and sand policies one can observe that these policies were diluted due to corruption and misuse of power. Liquor and Sand were treated as money – making avenues under the current government rule. The policies are nothing but a scam to divert the people from the ongoing corruption in the state.