Written by Staff Writer
14 Feb, 2019 | 10:09 pm
Colombo (News 1st): A group of journalists launched an investigation on the illegal sand mining at the Upparu river which is a branch of the Mahaweli River coming under the Kinniya Divisional Secretariat of Trincomalee.
The journalists who made an observation tour from the upper region of Upparu River along with the Geological Survey and Mines Bureau officials of the Trincomalee regional office spotted the sand dunes in Keerathiuv, Vairaweli area, at Upparu Bay.
News 1st Provincial Reporter Pradeep Gunawardena noted that as they arrived at the locations where the sand dunes are located, the racketeers fled from those locations. He added that when observing the sand docks beside the river they found a large number of sand mines and abandoned boats.
Tractors have been used for transporting sand on a large scale. They are using the river banks as sand docks for this purpose. Our reporters said that they continue to engage in these activities day and night.
Shelton Kumarasinghe of the Geological Survey & Mines Bureau noted that they have identified four places near Vairaweli Sawaru and Kandal Kadu Reserve where illegal sand mining occurred. He added that they are working to ensure that illegal sand mining is discontinued by getting the assistance of the Navy Special Taskforce and the Police teams of the Trincomalee District.
Meanwhile, the Geological Survey and Mines Bureau says that issuing sand mining licenses in the Trincomalee District will be temporarily suspended tomorrow. Senior Director, Sajjana De Silva said that all the licenses in the Trincomalee District would be suspended from tomorrow until the 28th of this month.
He said that these measures were taken into consideration of irregular sand mining, environmental issues and illegal sand mining in the Trincomalee District. Sajjana de Silva stated that a special group has been appointed to investigate the situation in the district.
The team consists of the Ministry of Environment, Central Environmental Authority, Coast Conservation Department and Officers of the Geological Survey and Mines Bureau.
Twelve members of the Sri Lanka Navy were injured in a clash that took place in Trincomalee on January 29 when a group of illegal sand miners was arrested at Kinniya Kandakadu Bridge in Trincomalee. Seven sand miners were arrested in the operation and two bodies of missing persons were found later.
Chaminda Bandara a Committee Member of the Joint Mineral Entrepreneurs Association of Trincomalee noted that there are no licenses to operate in the Mahaweli river for 2019. He added that there is no such thing as suspending the issuing of licenses.
He went on to note that the licenses have not been in effect, however, transport licenses are granted. He pointed out that the Geological Mining Bureau issues those license. Bandara noted that their attempt is to use this license and illegally smuggle sand to Colombo.
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