I went to Hingurakgoda, Minneriya, and Nava Nagaraya Polonnaruwa for the day yesterday. On my return journey, as I was in the front passenger seat, leaving the New Town at 4.30pm, in the 3 hours it took to get to the Kandy Road at Ambepussa, I counted 312 fully laden tippers full of dripping sand, (new sand put directly on to the tipper trucks from the buckets in the Mahaweli River around Manampitiya)
I thought since it was the 30th of June 2011, that some law was passed forbidding sand mining in the Mahaweli with effect from July 1st, so there was a massive effort to mine the Mahaweli out of sand! and hence the tipper procession, like I had never seen in over a 150 such journeys in the past 6 years. There were old trucks that were not tippers and flat bed trucks holding over the tipper volume of 4 cubes, in this procession, and hence my hypothesis regarding the day THE MAHAWELI WAS RAPED.
What does this translate into? 312 trucks including those parked on the side of the road for the breaks the drivers need along the way? Say, for sake of illustration, with the bigger trucks holding more than 6 cubes, an approximate 1500 cubes of sand in the 3 hour period were noted. Erring on the conservative, saying they would be transported over only a 12 hour period and not 24 hours as is the case if they want, that translates into "6000 CUBES A DAY" a cube sells at Rs8,000, but say they are sold at a wholesale price of Rs6,000 then it is Rs36 MILLION RUPEES OF SAND MINED FROM THE MAHAWELI IN ONE DAY!!!
I have some questions. How much does the state receive per cube of sand mined? It is the country's property and as the Government is the protector of the country's mineral resources, how much do they receive per year from this project?
No doubt this is the work of politicians in the government who issue the mine permits, so how much money do these politicians get for a mining permit, and how many cubes does a permit entitle one to mine or transport? What is the procedure for obtaining a legal permit? What are the laws relating to the Environmental protection of river sand mining? This leads to a whole question on the ethics of this practice.
While I realize we need sand badly for our construction sector and we will need sand in a greater scale in the future, I ask why is the sea not being used for mining sand. I know of many people who have sea mining rights who are currently not utilizing those rights for want of a proper dredging mechanism to get the sand from about 2km from the sea bed. Mining closer to the shore will also be environmentally harmful.
I was aware of a Hungarian aid project where they would give some Euro 50Million aid to buy their sea sand mining dredgers to mine the sand from the sea. This project got stuck because the bureaucrats in the relevant ministry, along with some higher ups wanted a bribe of 35% of the project to pass the project. Surely a bribe of 1% would have been acceptable and that would run into millions of rupees so for the sake of personal gain yet another project that would save the ENVIRONMENT OF SRI LANKA FROM FURTHER DEGRADATION WAS DENIED.
THIS IS THE TRAGEDY OF THIS COUNTRY AND THE CURRENT LEADERSHIP THAT THEY ARE BENT ON DESTROYING OUR COUNTRY FOR PERSONAL GAIN AND AT THE SAME TIME FOOLING OUR GULLIBLE CITIZENS BY USING THE MEDIA TO THEIR ADVANTAGE HIGHLIGHTING WHAT THEY ARE PLANNING ON DOING WITHOUT SHOWING HOW THEY ARE RAPING AND PLUNDERING THE RESOURCES OF THE COUNTRY SO THAT WE LEAVE A WASTELAND TO OUR FUTURE GENERATIONS!!