Sand Miners’ Co-op to Regulate Mining – Amaraweera
By Thameenah Razeek
In a bid to curb unsustainable sand mining practices across the country, the Environment Ministry has now introduced a ‘Sand Miners’ Co-operative Society’ concept to regulate sand mining and check illegal mining.
The concept is to establish the sand miners’ co-operative societies at six selected locations in the Batticaloa, Trincomalee and Polonnaruwa Districts.
At a discussion held in this connection at the Environment Ministry, it was decided to carry out sand mining and distribution activities through a cooperative system to control sand prices.
Environment Minister Mahinda Amaraweera said, currently there is a rapid increase in sand prices in the construction sector in the country. “Three sand cubes in Manampitiya costs around Rs 14,000, but it will increase up to Rs 65,000 once it enters to Colombo and the suburbs,” he explained adding that he instructed officials of the Geological Survey and Mines Bureau (GSMB) to make arrangements to establish Sand Miners’ Co-operative Societies.
Concentration was also directed to control rising prices, exploitation of the public by charging exorbitant prices for sand distribution, mixing and selling other types of sand and not receiving the required quantity of sand as prescribed.
Instructions were also given to formulate a programme to permit Samurdhi beneficiaries to earn an extra income by enrolling them in sand mining activities.
Meanwhile, Amaraweera reiterated that politicians were involved in sand mining, adding that priority should be given to low-income families living in areas where sand mining is taking place adding that he also instructed to expedite the commencement of the Co-operative Society concept.