Minister of Environment – Mahinda Amaraweera has stated that he is ready to resign if MP Shanakiyan Rajaputhiran Rasamanickam proves his allegations that a minister of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) is involved in the sand mining racket.
MP Rasamanickam yesterday (07) said in Parliament that sand is being illegally mined from various places in the Eastern Province to build an island in the Maldives.
If this is proven, I am ready to resign not only from the post of Minister but also from the post of Member of Parliament, minister Amaraweera stated in a media briefing held at the Ministry of Environment today (08).
The minister added that he will present his views on this as a senior Vice President of the SLFP as well as a responsible minister.
He emphasied that the country’s resources could not be smuggled in any way as such due to the existing laws and regulations of the country.
The Minister pointed out that it is not possible to imagine the amount of sand required to dredge an entire island and if so, it should be taken out of the country by ships, which is impossible to do illegally.
If our mineral resources are to be exported, it would have to be approved by the Cabinet, he pointed out, adding that this would also require amending of Acts and laws.
The Environment minister said that 6.5 cubes of sand had actually been sent to the Maldives of late to be used in water filters, but that was done by a Sri Lankan company and all taxes in this regard had been charged.
He also said that minerals of Sri Lanka are only exported by Lanka Mineral Sands while the Geological Survey and Mines Bureau had assured him that no permits have been issued to export Sand from Sri Lankan.
“Therefore, I responsibly say that no such racket has taken place. Also, even if a request regarding such a matter is raised, we will act in accordance with the existing laws and after informing the Cabinet. And only if the country receives a large amount of foreign exchange in return,” the minister said.
(Source : Lankadeepa)