Steps taken to eliminate sand mafia – Minister Amaraweera | Daily News

Steps taken to eliminate sand mafia – Minister Amaraweera

The Geological Survey and Mines Bureau (GSMB) has taken steps to annihilate the sand mafia and the unlicensed sand smuggling through a co-operative system, Environment Minister Mahinda Amaraweera said.

“Like other mafia gangs that exploit the people, there is a sand mafia involved in sand distribution and mining. A tipper with three cubes of sand that can be provided at a low price is sold for a large amount. Some mafia gangs sell low quality sand by mixing land sand and sea sand claiming to be sand from the Mahaweli River, the Minister said.

The Minister said that he will eradicate the sand mafia and steps have already been taken to carry out sand mining and distribution in the Batticaloa, Trincomalee and Polonnaruwa Districts by the GSMB Technical Services (Pvt) Limited, a subsidiary of the Ministry.

The GSMB Technical Services (Pvt.) Limited is 100 per cent government institution, the Minister said.

The Minister was discussing the environmental issues in the Eastern Province with Eastern Province Governor Anuradha Yahampath on Zoom.

The Governor said that with the blessings of some corrupt government officials, lagoons are being filled up and deforested.

The Governor also said that the illegal mining and distribution of sand is being carried out by some individuals without licences. The Minister said that he had also briefed the President on this matter and requested him to deploy the Special Task Force and the Police to conduct raids to arrest the culprits.

“Therefore, the Special Task Force and the Police will be informed to arrest those who destroy the environment in the Eastern Province, regardless of their rank,” Minister Mahinda Amaraweera said. The Minister also said that special raid units of the Ministry and the Central Environmental Authority will be deployed. The Minister said that low income families in the Eastern Province will be provided with the opportunity to mine sand to earn a decent income

The Minister instructed the GSMB to submit a report on the illegal filling of lagoons in the Eastern Province.

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