Despite the action by Northern Provincial Council Minister of Agriculture, Livestock, Irrigation and Environment in August this year in prohibiting excavation of sand from the coast of Vaaviyadi and Puthu-aattadi in Kokku’laay region in Vanni, the Colombo government and agents of Namal Rajapaksa, the son of SL president Mahinda Rajapaksa, have accelerated the excavation of mineral sands containing ilmenite and rutile, raw materials for manufacturing Titanium Dioxide. The SL government in Colombo has seized several acres of lands along the coast in recent weeks, news sources in Mullaiththeevu told TamilNet on Saturday.
11 families have complained that their lands have been taken over by the SL government and that the sand is being taken away from an area of 20 square kilometers.
Although the SL government claimed that the families would be provided alternative lands, the landowners complain that such exploitation is causing environmental destruction. The SL government will not be providing proper lands as alternative lands, they complain.
The Northern Provincial Council is not able to block the destructive excavation of mineral sands and all the efforts by the NPC minister have been ignored by the Sri Lankan government, the landowners say.
Namal Rajapaksa has also been purchasing and transferring lands along the coast of Mullaiththeevu, especially in Kokku’laay and Ma’nalaa’ru areas for the excavation of minerals.
The Sri Lankan government’s main customers for ilmenite in have been Ishihara Sangyo Kaisha Ltd. (Japan), ACI (US), Derby & Co (British), Currumbin Minerals Ltd. (Australia), and Rare Earth’s Ltd (India’s state-owned firm) in the past. The current contractors are not known.