The Environment Ministry instructed the Geological Survey and Mines Bureau (GSMB) to suspend issuing inland sand mining permits.
The decision was announced by Minister Mahinda Amaraweera following reports of massive environmental damage due to inland sand mining in the village of Walewatta in Ambalantota.
“The land area had been completely destroyed due to inland sand mining. It has also been observed that cultivable paddy lands as well as economic crop such as coconut cultivation lands have been destroyed due to inland sand mining,” the Minister said.
The GSMB was advised to conduct a comprehensive investigation and submit a report and to decide on the way forward, based on the recommendations laid down in the investigation report.
Until then, the Minister instructed to take steps to temporarily suspend issuing permits for inland sand mining.