Sep 05, 2018

Authorities ignore illegal sand mining in the Mahaweli Featured

Illegal sand mining is taking place in a massive scale in the Mahaweli at Mutur, Seruwila and Verugal areas of Trincomalee.

Authorities are turning a blind eye to this, while strictly enforcing the law against licensed sand mining, area residents allege.

Complaints in writing to the relevant officials have failed to stop illegal sand mining.

Journalists had a firsthand experience of this when they were taken to Seruwila by the Sri Lanka Agrarian Conference, led by its national organizer Namal Karunaratne, on September 04.

sand4The team was told by chairman of Serunuwara Pradeshiya Sabha A.G. Ranasinghe that complaints, even to the president, brought no results.

Pradeshiya Sabha member Sugath Ramanayake said area politicians were unable to mediate, as a powerful political arm and state officials were assisting the illegal sand mining.

Leaders of farmers’ organizations had the same complaint to make.

Journalists saw that licensed sand mining was taking place in a small scale at Serunuwara, while just a few metres away from that location, at Kinnniya, illegal sand mining was taking place using tractors in the river.

According to Karunaratne, Trincomalee district had only 113 license holders, while the rest were illegal sand miners.