Arrested for damaging GS & MB regional office
Three persons were arrested yesterday for damaging the Geological Survey and Mines Bureau Regional Office in Kaduruwella, Polonnaruwa.
Regional Office Director Dr. D. O K. Dissanayake told The Island that the attackers were the goons of sand dealers who have links with politicians. However, the 15 workers attached to the office were unarmed.
He said Environment and Natural Resources Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka’s prompt action in instructing the Police and Army in the area prevented the goons from torching vehicles belonging to Geological Survey and Mines Bureau Technical Office.
Dissanayake said that the attack was prompted due to the restricting of sand permits in the area. The damage was assessed at Rs. 200,000.
"Some of the sand dealers had permits but they started to take sand from the Manampititiya area which comes under the purview of Wildlife and Conservation Department.
"In fact, we got the approval of the Wildlife and Conservation Department to take large loads of sand in the area from Mahaweli River," he said.
"However, he said that following the approval, permit holders from other areas too began entering the area. Earlier, mining and transport permit were issued together. Later, due illegal activities of dealers separate permits were issued.
"Most of the sand dealers are against the new system and wanted us to continue with the old system," he added.