Priority will be given to low income families when issuing river sand mining permits from 2022 | Daily News

Priority will be given to low income families when issuing river sand mining permits from 2022

The Ministry of Environment has received complaints from the public, Divisional Secretariats offices and District Secretariats   that a large number of sand mining licenses for rivers have been issued to persons who have been engaged in sand mining on a public and private land lease basis for a long period of time.
 
Therefore, the Ministry of Environment has decided to give priority in issuing river sand mining permits to the low income families living in the respective Divisional Secretariat areas as a measure to uplift the income of the low income families living in the Divisional Secretariat areas. . Environment Minister Mahinda Amaraweera has instructed the Geological Survey and Mines Bureau to take steps to this commence from 2022.
 
This was stated by the Minister of Environment at a progress review meeting held at the Ministry of Environment regarding the formalization of the issuance of sand mining permits.
 
According to the Minister, many District Secretaries and Divisional Secretaries have also recommended that these measures be taken to improve the livelihoods of low income families.
 
Accordingly, in granting recommendation / permission for the river sand mining industry from the year 2022, recommendations / permits will be issued to the licensees who have been engaged in sand mining in the Divisional Secretariat Divisions for a long period of time, irrespective of their residence, to continue the industry. Steps will also be taken to issue sand mining permits to low income earners and those who have already applied.
 
Licenses are issued to 50% of the applicants residing in the Divisional Secretariat area and more than 50% of the applicants residing in other jurisdictions but having the required basic qualifications. Licensing will also take into account their ability to carry out sand mining properly, the need for livelihood development of low-income earners, and their contribution to environmental conservation.
 
However, many of the workers who currently contribute to river sand mining work under sand licensees who come from other areas for a daily wage. But despite being permanent residents in those areas, a large number of families who have lost the ability to develop their livelihoods or raise their economic status from the natural resources of their area are still employed as daily wage laborers.
 
Taking these factors into consideration, it was decided to give priority to the economic development of low income families in issuing sand mining permits, the Environment Minister said.

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