The Coast Conservation Department (CCD) Director General Prabath Chandrakeerthi today told the Daily Mirror that Minister Faizer Musthapha had urged him not to go ahead with the decision to remove the illegal structures in Mirissa.
But Mr. Chandrakeerthi said the Department would remove the identified illegal structures by May 1.
"I received a call from the minister who wanted me not to go ahead. I informed him the CCD did not come under his ministry and that he could not make such a request," he said.
Mr. Chandrakeerthi said he had told the minister to submit his request in writing.
He said the minister wanted the authorities to first instruct the people and then lodge police complaints before removing the illegal structures.
Mr. Chandrakeerthi said the CCD had followed the legal provisions by informing of the rights of the occupants of the structures. The illegal dwellers have however not exercised the rights compelling the removal.
Some 17 unauthorized constructions were identified along the Mirissa beach by the Coast Conservation Department.
The minister on Sunday expressed opposition to the CCD decision to remove the unauthorized constructions saying the decision could hamper the livelihood of small entrepreneurs.
He had met the hoteliers in Mirissa on Friday and held discussions with regard to the situation that occured after the incident which Dutch tourists were sexually and physically assaulted in the area.
Many tourists both local and international detailed a culture of sexual harassment and abuse for years in the area.
A social media user said, "This is not the first time that the authorities have been notified about the surf bar - I did this myself three years ago. No action was taken. Not only the surf bar, there are at least three more establishments on that strip without licences and run by political thugs." (Thilanka Kanakarathna)