Illegal sand miners have fled from sites in Vadamarachchi, Jaffna, after three days of unauthorised sand mining operations, due to deep concern and protests from local residents.
The sand racket was first carried out in the eastern area of Vadamarachchi, Kudarappu, on Friday by sand miners equipped with hundreds of tillers and bulldozer vehicles. The illegal operation was met with huge discontentment from both locals residents and officials.
There were public protests against the illegal sand miners which resulted in them retreating out of the area with their vehicles and machinery.
Earlier on Sunday, there were multiple meetings, which were attended by the Vadamarachchi East Divisional Secretory, village officers and local officials, conducted at the Point Pedro police station to resolve and investigate the issue immediately.
Following the protests, police officials and Prabhakaramoorthi, District Secretary of Maruthankerny arrived at the scene. He condemned the illegal sand mining operations and said “They have arrived at a decision saying that a license is not needed to transport sand. But to conduct sand mining permission must be granted from the relevant District Secretariat and other authorities. A police post should be established in this area.”
A vigilant team has been set up to ensure that further illegal sand mining operations should not occur.
Members of the Point Pedro Pradeshiya Sabha and former provincial council member, Sukirthan met with local residents of the Kudarappu and Semiyanpattu area on Sunday.
“The new government is not interested in environment protection. The immediate pre-existing legal process should include sand mining and distribution”, they said.
The Socialist Youth Union National Organiser Eranga Gunasekara summoned a media briefing in Colombo on Sunday to also express his disapproval of the recent permit rebuttal. “Minister of Environment said permits to transport rock, sand and soil have been revoked,” he said. “A massive political mafia is behind this.”