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New Circular on permits for sand, soil, gravel

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A new Circular will be issued to give effect to the process of issuance of permits for mining, transportation and trade of metals, sand, soil, gravel and clay.

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa appointed a Presidential Task Force to study the exploitation of Geological resources for development, priorities and self-employment and to meet micro level economic livelihood needs of those engaged in traditional vocations and the sources and methodologies of extraction of such resources.

The Task Force is entrusted with the task of introducing a system to issue permits while giving priority to environmental conservation in order to avoid difficulties faced by the public, private institutions as well as statutory government agencies in the process of excavation, transportation and trade of geological resources, the President’s Media Division said.Cabinet approval has been granted to the “Code of Mining Minerals, Transportation and Trade for the Construction Industry” which contain instructions on new methods prepared by the Presidential Task Force. Accordingly, Secretary to the President P.B. Jayasundera has directed through the new Circular that all the relevant Heads of Institutions should take immediate steps to regulate the mining, transportation and trade of metals, sand, soil, gravel and clay.

The Presidential Task Force on geological resources has suggested that tasks such as early identification of geological resources, excavation sites, mapping them, identification of the institutions that own those geological resources and obtaining the necessary clearance certificates should be implemented within a single agency structure.

The circular stated that the Geological Survey and Mines Bureau (GSMB) should take steps to completely reorganize the programme that has been implemented so far with regard to the issuance of permits as instructed in the chapters of the Code.

The Geological Survey and Mines Bureau should take steps to prevent clients from obtaining clearances from several institutions unnecessarily. The circular also states that steps should be taken to delegate the necessary powers to the District Secretaries, Divisional Secretaries, Grama Niladharis and other officials and to provide them with the necessary legal documents.

Steps should be taken to issue the relevant clearances or environment related certificates within the time period recommended by the Presidential Task Force. There is a possibility that existing regulations, gazette notifications and circulars could be amended.

Since the necessary approval has been granted by the Cabinet, the heads of relevant statutory bodies should take action to complete amendments, if there are any, without delay.

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