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New program to resolve gem industry issues

Cabinet Sub-Committee to be appointed following talks

President Maithripala Sirisena has said a special program will be implemented to resolve the issues of the gem and jewellery industry, including illegal mining, trade of fake gem stones and issuing mining licenses, the President’s Media Unit said yesterday. President Sirisena has also pledged to appoint a Cabinet sub-committee to tackle these issues, the statement said.

He made these remarks during a meeting held at the Presidential Secretariat to discuss issues prevailing in the gem and jewellery industry.

The President said that the desire of the new Government is to follow a more flexible policy to provide solutions for the problems of the industry which prevailed for a long period of time.

During this meeting, special attention was drawn regarding raids of illegal mining and trading of fake gemstones, and the President instructed the relevant authorities to submit a report comprised of information of such raids by next week to him.

Attention was also paid to the subjects of issuing mining licenses for land belonging to the Land Reforms Commission, about circulars issued by the Department of Agrarian Development regarding utilisation of paddy fields for the purpose of mining, providing permission for mechanical mining, not taking appropriate steps to close mines after the mine activity is over, and regarding the time to get the mining licenses.

Secretary to the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs S. R. Attygalle, Secretary to the Ministry of Mahaweli Development and Environment Anura Dissanayake, Gem and Jewellery Authority Chairman Peshala Jayarathna, public servants, Inspector General of Police Pujith Jayasundara, and others participated in this discussion.

(FT)

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