Sand loading racket in Maldives | Daily News

Sand loading racket in Maldives

I am prepared to resign if any SLFPer involved in such a racket - Minister Amaraweera

Environment Minister Mahinda Amaraweera offered to resign if it is proven that a Minister of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) is involved in a racket of loading Sri Lankan sand into the Maldives to fill an island in the Maldives.

Tamil National Alliance (TNA) Member of Parliament Shanakiyan Rasamanikkam had stated in Parliament on Tuesday that a Minister of the SLFP was involved in a racket of loading Sri Lankan sand into the Maldives to fill an island in the Maldives.

The issue was highlighted by the media. Minister Amaraweera stated that he is ready to resign from the post of Minister and also from the post of Member of Parliament if it is proven that a Minister of the SLFP is involved in such a racket.

He was addressing a media briefing at the Ministry yesterday.

“As a Senior Vice President of the SLFP as well as a responsible Minister, I make submissions. The resources of the country cannot be discharged in this manner by any of the laws and regulations in our country. I cannot even imagine the amount of sand needed to fill an island. If so, the sand should be shipped out of the country. That fact cannot be done in secret. If we send our mineral resources, we have to get the approval of the Cabinet. Even the existing laws should be changed for that,” he said.

“The Maldives had been sent six and a half cubes of sand recently. I asked the Geological Survey and Mines Bureau (GSMB), and the officials said those were sent by a company in our country and all taxes had been collected to the Government. This is not to fill an island of Maldives,” he clarified.

“There are politicians who are involved in sand, soil and stone smuggling. I know that these politicians are also following these racketeers. MP Rasamanikkam has information about it, he can submit them,” the Minister noted. The Minister pointed out that the mineral resources of our country are exported by the Mineral Company, which is a Government company. “The income goes to our country, but when I inquired from the GSMB, the officials said that our country has never been licensed to export sand. Therefore, I responsibly say that there has been no such racket. Also, if there is a request regarding such a matter, we will act in accordance with the existing laws and after informing the Cabinet. I look forward to commenting on this matter in Parliament as well,” the Minister said. 


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