The Bureau on July 28 last year started issuing permits after the Central Environmental Authority, Departments of Archaeology, Irrigation and Wildlife Conservation, Anuradhapura district secretariat and Horowpothana divisional secretariat carried out surveys.
Forty of the licenses issued were cancelled on November 04 due to a legal issue with regard to the ownership of the 4,000 hectare sand deposit among institutions under the Environment Ministry.
Later, the Bureau took steps under proper procedures on November 27 to issue only 27 permits.
The mining was to take place under the supervision of the Bureau, but the permit holders as well as outsiders had invaded the sand deposit in violation of the conditions.
On December 31, mining was suspended until such time permits are issued to ensure that the state gets its due income.
Since then, the DG is coming under threat by various quarters.
There is information that a politician from Colombo and a ministry secretary are behind those threats.
DG to take legal action
When contacted, the director general of the Bureau confirmed having received such threats, and said he would resort to legal action against it.
In the meantime, environment ministry secretary Udaya Seneviratne has written to the Bureau’s chairman, telling him to remove the DG from the position.
Chairman of the Bureau Dr. Kithsiri Dissanayake said he had not been told to remove the DG.
He said he has received a letter telling him to make the appointments in a more organized manner.
He said the present DG is in the position in an acting capacity.
While the relevant act clearly states that the subject minister, who incidentally is president Maithripala Sirisena, has the responsibility of appointing or removing the DG, it is highly suspicious that the ministry secretary has acted against that provision.