Dec 28, 2016

MPs given permits for sand mining! Featured

Permits have been given to several politicians without calling for tender to mine sand from a major deposit at Vahalkada in Anuradhapura that was found during the project to divert waters of Yan Oya to the north, ‘Ravaya’ reports.

MP Hirunika Premachandra said the irrigation minister has permitted MPs to apply for the permits, and that she too, has sent an application.

Among those already given licenses are the brother of a topmost government figure, several MPs and regional politicians.

According to Premachandra, the process of obtaining the permit is a difficult one, and only Prasanna Solangaarachchi is presently involved in mining sand from the deposit.

‘No need to call for tenders’

When contacted by a journalist of the newspaper, irrigation minister Vijith Vijithamuni Soyza said there was no need to call for tenders.

He invited the journalist to be present when he would explain matters to the media, and then disconnected the phone line.

Director general of the Geological Survey and Mines Bureau Sajjana de Silva said the Mahaweli Authority, Irrigation Department and the Wildlife Conservation Department have all given permission for sand mining at Vahalkada.

He said that his duty was to issue permits to those who apply to him with the required permission.

When contacted, Solangaarachchi said the sand mining permit was owned by his brother-in-law.

50,000 tipper-loads of sand

Meanwhile, area residents say the mined sand is being transported every day by tippers to Kandy and Colombo.

Around 50,000 tipper-loads of sand mined from the site are piled up at Gomarankadawala, they add.