Demand triggers illegal gravel extractions

Assistant Minister for Health and Mediacal Services Alexander O'Connor. Picture: JONACANI LALAKOBAU

THE illegal extraction of sand and gravel from all divisions in the country is mainly because of the increasing demand by the construction industry for roads and infrastructure.

Minister for Lands and Mineral Resources Ashneel Sudhakar highlighted this in Parliament after being asked an oral question by Assistant Health Minister Alex O’Connor on the measures the ministry had taken to manage and control illegal sand and gravel extractions in the country.

Mr Sudhakar said in the previous years, the ministry had received numerous complaints on the uncontrolled and illegal extraction of sand and gravel.

He said the limited supplier of the sand and gravel natural resources could not meet the accelerated demand, hence sand and gravel resources were being exploited unsustainably and more so illegally.

Consequently, Mr Sudhakar said the ministry had taken drastic approaches to resolve this issue.

He added that the ministry was also working on finalising a River Gravel Extraction Management Guideline which will provide further information on the obligation of the requirements for people undertaking gravel and sand extraction in Fiji.

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