While taking measures to stop the exploitation of sand by middlemen, the environment ministry has decided to carry out the island wide sand distribution under the Building Materials Corporation (BMC) from next year.
The Minister said this during a discussion with sand miners and tipper truck drivers to streamline sand distribution.
Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa had also instructed Minister Amaraweera to look into the possibility of distributing sand under the Building Materials Corporation.
“This will help to prevent the exploitation of consumers by middlemen, especially in the distribution of sand,” he said. “This will also provide the public with the opportunity to use high quality sand for their construction,” he said.
“Currently, the Manampitiya sand has the highest demand in the market. But some middlemen mix other sands with Manampitiya sand and sell it at a higher price. Therefore, the government should give priority to protecting sand miners and consumers who buy sand, not the middlemen, “he said.
The price of a cube of sand bought from Manampitiya for Rs. 4,830 has risen to Rs. 6,550 when it comes to the market due to the exploitation of these middlemen, the Minister said.
GSMB Technical Services (PVT) Limited, a state-owned company, will continue to carry out sand mining and sand buying process. They are to supply the Building Materials Corporation for the distribution of that sand. Sand distribution can be handled by tippers currently transporting sand.
The Minister also emphasized that from now on, no one should be given priority in releasing sand. It has also been reported that, in some cases, some individuals use their power and wealth to gain priority in the release of sand. Therefore, when releasing sand, priority will now be given only to constructions of places of religious importance.