|Thursday, 23 January 2003|
by Florence Wickramage
Ten men engaged in illegal sand-mining in the Ma-Oya were taken into custody by Kochchikade police along with machinery and equipment worth around Rs. 10 million, police said.
Unauthorised sand-mining in the Ma-Oya for a continuous period of time has affected large extents of agricultural lands in the vicinity. The situation has worsened owing to the heavy machinery being used in sand-mining. The Ma-Oya has been deepened as a result facing the risk of sea water flowing into it, police told the Daily News yesterday.
The suspects were apprehended during an operation by Kochchikade police to curb environmental pollution in the Ma-Oya and its environs.
Police said distilling liquor in scrublands in the vicinity of the Ma-Oya banks was also taking place. They seized around 100,000 drams of illicit liquor during transportation and have also taken into custody the men and five vehicles. The suspects have been prosecuted.
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