Sand mining mafia intimidates Divisional Secretary in Batticaloa North

[TamilNet, Thursday, 31 October 2019, 15:05 GMT]
Three Sinhala sand mining traders, scooping sands in Kathirave'li in Koa'ra'laip-pattu North (Vaakarai) division, have threatened the Divisional Secretary M. Karan saying that they were capable of transferring him away from his division. One of the Sinhala sand mining traders from Kanthaa'laay in Trincomalee is demanding to increase the extent of the sand permit to cover the expenses to sponsor one of the leading presidential candidates, the officials further said. The latest threat has come as the DS was trying to limit the extensive scooping. The traders operate with the backing of the Geological Survey and Mines Bureau, which comes under the unitary State system in Colombo.

The sand mining traders are engaged in export business of sand out of the island, the sources further said.

The exploitation has caused floods into the villages along the Verukal river.

The sand scooping has also increased fears of salinity intrusion into the river, officials at the Divisional Secretariat told TamilNet.

After witnessing the mafia-like modus operandi of the Sinhala traders, some former Tamil paramilitary operatives have also started harassing the DS officials to secure licenses to them.

Furthermore, innocent villagers are also being dragged into sand-scooping related conflicts.

The sand extraction is going on disregarding the concerns of the native people of erosion and other mining-induced consequences disrupting the channel and the habitat.

The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam were protecting Vaakarai from structural genocide and exploitation during the times of peace and war until 2007 when the entire area faced an all-out genocidal war by the SL State.

Verukal river is a branch of the island's longest river Mahaweli.

Vaakarai region encompasses a vast expanse of land north of Navaladi junction extending 50 km to the Verukal river.

Several small villages, Kaayaang-kea'ni, Maang-kea'ni, Panichchang-kea'ni, Vaakarai, Ka'ndal-adi, Paal-cheanai and Kathiraveli, which lie along A-15, from south to north, dot the hinterlands of Vaakarai region.

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