Special programme to nab illegal sand miners | Daily News

Special programme to nab illegal sand miners

Environment Minister Mahinda Amaraweera said at a meeting held with Eastern Province Governor Anuradha Yahampath and other Government officials yesterday morning (10) that a special programme will be prepared to nab illgal sand miners and establish Cooperative Societies in order to provide benefits to the low income earners.

The meeting was held through ZOOM technology on the request of the Governor to take necessary measures to solve the existing environmental problems in the Eastern Province.

Minister Amaraweera pointed out that at present the amount of sand required for the country is sourced from the Polonnaruwa District and the Eastern Province rsulting in a number of major environmental issues.

The Minister said that despite permission being granted to issue 300 sand mining permits in the Trincomalee District, 1,300 licenses were issued last year alone.

Minister Amaraweera pointed out that necessary steps will be taken to change this situation in the future. Eastern Province Governor Yahampath stated that the main reason for the irregularities in the issuance of licenses is that most of the officials in the province are corrupt.The Governor also said that such officials operate under with the support of certain politicians. She suggested that the best solution for this is to issue licenses through a Committee.

The statement made by MP Shanakayan Rasamanikkam in Parliament recently regarding illegal sand mining in the Eastern Province was also discussed during this meeting. The Environment Authority, Forest Department, Geological Survey and Mines Bureau officials and the Chief Secretary of the Eastern Province, Trincomalee and the Batticaloa District Secretaries and the Secretary to the Governor were present.

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