Feb 12, Colombo: Sri Lanka President Maithripala Sirisena says following inquiries action will be taken to punish government officials responsible for damaging the environment.
Addressing the opening of the 'Haritha Sihinaya' (Green Dream) educational and environmental exhibition held in Kurunegala today, the President said many new facts regarding the soil excavation racket in Divulapitiya have come to light and the Geological Survey and Mines Bureau (GSMB) should be held responsible for the controversial removal of earth.
The President noted that the officials of GSMB which falls under his own Ministry of Environment are at fault for the illegal soil excavation which has been carried out for nearly 20 years.
The President said that 60,000 cubes of earth had been removed from the particular place and transported to fill the marsh lands of Muthurajawela and the officials had not supervised if the permit holder was operating according the permit.
"As you know the excavation of sand and soil and other minerals requires licenses. No one has noticed where the soil was being transported," the President said.
President Sirisena said he will have to suspend and investigate the engineers and the other officials at the GSMB who authorized the particular permit and allowed this crime to proceed.
The soil excavation racket taking place in the Akaragama area in Divulapitiya came into light recently following a verbal exchange between Deputy Minister Ranjan Ramanayake and the Divulapitiya Divisional Secretary M.M.S Herath over the destruction to the environment.
The Deputy Minister has inquired into the issue on the request of the residents and the Buddhist monks in the area where several acres of land was being destroyed by cutting the earth.
The residents and Buddhist monks have called on the President to mediate in the ordeal and take immediate action to halt the destruction of the environment.
President Sirisena declared open the 'Haritha Sihinaya' Educational and Environmental Exhibition organized by the Wayamba Provincial Council in Kurunegala today (Feb. 12). The exhibition will be held till 14th of February.
At the occasion, the President presented prizes to those who fulfilled a pioneering responsibility for 'Haritha Sihinaya'.
Ministers S. B. Nawinna, Gamini Jayawickrama Perera, Anura Priyadarshana Yapa, Deputy Ministers Ashoka Abeysinghe and Indika Bandaranayake, Chief Minister of Wayamba Province Dharmasiri Dasanayake, and the Governor of the Wayamba Province Amara Piyasili Ratnayake were among those participated in this occasion.