De­duru sand min­ers defy Court or­der

Sunday Times (Sri Lanka) - - NEWS -

The es­tu­ary of De­duru Oya Delta ( an em­bank­ment dam built across the oya) is be­ing plun­dered by sand min­ers in the area. The il­le­gal scheme has been tak­ing place over a long pe­riod of time and dredgers are be­ing used to to max­imise the quan­ti­ties of sand mined.

At present sand is ex­ca­vated to a dis­tance of about 300 me­tres into the dam and pumped into a pri­vate prop­erty from where it is trans­ported by trac­tors at night.

En­vi­ron­men­tal­ists and con­cerned per­sons have ex­pressed out­rage at the il­le­gal ac­tiv­i­ties tak­ing place quite openly. They al­lege pow­er­ful politi­cians are be­hind the scheme.

They added that this was the rea­son gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials are not tak­ing ac­tion to pre­vent the on­go­ing dam­age to the es­tu­ary or the il­le­gal trans­port of sand.

Per­sons in­volved in the ne­far­i­ous scheme are at­tempt­ing to cover their mis­deeds with spu­ri­ous claims that it is part of a plan to pre­vent flood­ing.

The re­al­ity is that there is no such plan in ex­is­tence.

In 2011, when a sim­i­lar il­le­gal scheme was be­ing car­ried out, the Ban­gadeniya Pro­tect the En­vi­ron­ment As­so­ci­a­tion filed ap­pli­ca­tion at the Supreme Court against the ac­tiv­ity. The Court rul­ing pro­hib­ited any busi­ness con­nected with sand ex­ca­va­tion on the bunds of the De­duru Oya by Or­der No: SCFR 226/2006.

The Ge­o­log­i­cal Mines and Sur­vey Bu­reau, the En­vi­ron­men­tal Au­thor­ity of the Wayamba Provin­cial Coun­cil and the po­lice are cov­ered by the Supreme Court de­ci­sion to limit the is­sue of li­cence for min­ing and the use of heavy equip­ment in the process of min­ing.

Of­fi­cials of the Coastal Con­ser­va­tion De­part­ment de­nied per­mis­sion had been granted for the op­er­a­tion. "We are un­aware of such prac­tices. In fact we are in the process of ex­pand­ing the delta. We are un­aware of sand min­ing at the De­duru Oya Delta", an of­fi­cial of the de­part­ment said.

Deputy Di­rec­tor of the of the Chi­law Di­vi­sional Sec­re­tariat , W. R. Wick­re­m­anayake said there was no pro­vi­sion for sand min­ing in De­duru Oya and no per­mis­sion had been granted to trans­port sand at night. Text and Pix by Hi­ran Priyankara Jayas­inghe

The il­le­gally mined sand was pumped into a pri­vate land

A po­lice guard has been placed at the site

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