Sand miners defy the law

Despite strict laws, illegal sand miners are continuing to carry on with their activities undeterred. A classic example is the sand mining activity taking place between the two bridges, the old and new, in Peliyagoda. The Island investigations revealed that sand mining had been taking place for the last two days.

When contacted, Geological Survey and Mines Bureau Acting Director General S. M. A. T. B. Mudunkotuwa told The Island yesterday that they have not given permission for sand mining in Peliyagoda.

However, he said that he learns that the Department of Coast Conservation had given permission for sand mining in the area to get rid of excess sand from the river mouth.

Coast Conservation Department Acting Director General Anil Premaratne told The Island that they had given permission only to a sand mining society in Wattala to take sand from the Kelani estuary.

He said that if they take sand from any other area it is a punishable offence. Security forces in the area too were not satisfied with the illegal sand mining. They said that they didn’t want to get involved because certain departments were behind such activities.

Recently, the Geological Survey and Mines Bureau tightened laws to reduce illegal sand mining by imposing high penalties.

Environment and Natural Resources Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka said that by imposing strict laws they were able to bring down the price of sand.

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