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Suspension of sand mining permits: EC says permits cancelled as favour

‘No official letter or circular’

BY SKANDHA GUNASEKARA

The Deputy Election Commissioner to the Eastern Province has charged that sand mining permits had been suspended in the region soon after the general election was announced, in violation of election laws, The Sunday Morning learnt.

Deputy Election Commissioner S. Sudhakaran told The Sunday Morning that he had informed the Election Commission (EC) about the issue.

“Sand mining permits have been suspended, but some individuals are still transporting sand in the area. We received a complaint that a minister was behind the suspension to assist his allies in the electorate,” Sudhakaran said.

The Deputy Election Commissioner said that they had received a complaint to the effect that the Minister had instructed the Geological Survey and Mines Bureau (GSMB) to suspend the sand mining permits as a favour to a close associate who transports sand.

“The subject Minister had given instructions to the Geological Survey and Mines Bureau over the phone; there was no official circular or letter sent in this regard,” he alleged.

He said that he requested the GSMB to provide an explanation for the suspension of the permits soon after the parliamentary election date was announced.

“We will take action after we have received a response from the GSMB,” Sudhakaran said.