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Archives for : Goa

Indian Govt Challenges merger of Vedanta Resources Plc as Tax Evasion

Sesa Merger Was Tax Evasion Device by Agarwal, India Alleges

By Abhishek Shanker and Pratap Patnaik July 14, 2014


India’s government challenged the merger of Vedanta Resources Plc (VED)’s local units in court on the grounds the deal by the flagship company of billionaire Anil Agarwal was aimed at avoiding taxes.

The merger is a “device” for tax evasion, according to the petition filed today by the Ministry of Corporate Affairs, citing the income tax department. The ministry is seeking the nullification of the amalgamation. The Supreme Court will hear the plea on July 17.

Sesa Sterlite Ltd. (SSLT), India’s biggest aluminum maker, emerged from the combination of Vedanta’s iron-ore mining unit Sesa Goa Ltd. and copper producer Sterlite Industries (India) Ltd. in an all-share transaction. Investors got three Sesa Goa shares for five shares of Sterlite, while London-based Vedanta transferred to the new entity for $1 its 38.8 percent holding in Cairn India Ltd. (CAIR), including debt of $5.9 billion.

“I don’t think this petition will have any impact on the merged entity as it was carried out after court’s approval,” Ashish Kejriwal, analyst at Elara Securities India Pvt. who has a “reduce” rating on Sesa Sterlite, said in Mumbai.

The transaction, announced in February 2012, cut the parent’s debt as more than half was transferred to the new entity. The deal received court approval in August 2013.

Sesa Sterlite spokeswoman Roma Balwani declined to comment.

Shares of the Panaji, Goa-based Sesa Sterlite fell 1.2 percent to 289.05 rupees at the close in Mumbai today. The benchmark S&P BSE Sensex fell 0.1 percent.

Earnings at Sesa Sterlite mainly come from dividends paid by its oil and gas and zinc units. The company has faced court-ordered curbs on mining and delays in its plans to secure the government’s remaining stake in unit Hindustan Zinc Ltd.. (HZ)


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Bikini remark: Wendell Rodricks slams Goa minister in his Open letter

Open Letter to the Goan  Minister

The controversy over a Goa cabinet minister’s demand to ban mini-skirts and bikinis in order to “protect Goan culture” refuses to die down, with designer Wendell Rodricks asking him to to wear a loin cloth to work, skip chillies, tomatoes, potatoes, and stop using a table and chair at work if he believes in shunning Western influences and culture.

Mr Rodricks’ open letter to “The Goan Minister”, does not name Public Works Department (PWD) Minister Sudin Dhavalikar but makes several allusions to the references made by Mr Dhavalikar, who had demanded a ban on bikinis and mini-skirts in Goa’s beaches and night clubs.

Designer Wendel Rrodricks

Dear Mr Goan Minister,

I write this as an open letter to you and for the wider knowledge of the Goan people.

As a professor of World Costume History and the author of Moda Goa: History and Style, a book that documents the history of Goan costume, I would like to place certain facts in perspective.

Since you have commented on Indian culture and dress, the following garments cannot be worn by you as they are not Indian culturally: Shirts ( European) Pants/ Pyjamas ( Chinese/ Central Asia), socks, T- shirt and baniyan; yes your underwear too

( jersey was invented in Europe), Kurtas ( Central Asia, Ottoman, Moghul). That leaves you with a kashti or pudvem and a shawl or cloth to cover your torso.

Will you agree to go to your ministry office in this attire? By the way, it was not in Indian culture for Indian women to wear a bra or a sari petticoat.

The former came from the France, the latter from Victorian England. Also, when the coloniser came to Goa, there were no cholis, except for the devadasis who used a kind of choli. Till today we see older generation Goan ladies and tribals in villages, drape their sari navari style ( please note, no petticoat) and drape the paloo loosely around a torso without a choli.

Now onto international technology that we use despite them not being Indian invented… When you get to office, cut off the power, throw out the table, chairs, computer, telephone, cell phone, aircon, teacups, Rolex watch, Mont Blanc pen. All paper and files too ( both invented in China).

Sit on the floor, mat or patla. Now please work on our Goan needs that need your attention… drains, garbage, water supply and sewage treatment for our creeks and rivers and also for the boats, casinos, tourists boats that polythene river. It used to be said in ancient Goa that a dip in our holy rivers granted purity and many incarnations. Today a dip can only make us sick.

Since we are on the topic of Indianess, you will have to also stop eating potatoes, tomatoes, chilli, cashew, chickoos, pineapples and many other fruits, vegetables and spices that were alien to India.

I hope I have made my point. We live in a modern, international world and take from other cultures so that our Indian culture in turn is improved and celebrated.

Beyond all of this, is a very important issue at hand.

Your utterances are making all of us Goans seem non progressive, archaic and dangerously right wing, which we are not. The fact is that we have a more progressive mindset than many states in the country. Opinions expressed should not be made until there is a knowledge of history and culture.

We are a tourist state. Please do not kill the goose that lays the golden eggs. And do not ruin the name of our beloved state and people in the eyes of India and the world.

With every good wish for Goa and Goans.

( The writer is a fashion designer, writer and environmentalist) Wendell Rodricks

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Goa: Facebook user Devu Chodankar faces jail term for anti-Modi comments #Censorship #WTFnews

Mumbai Executive Faces Arrest for Anti-Modi Remarks on Facebook

oby Mayabhushan Nagvenkar May 23, 2014 08:53

IST #BJP #Devu Chodankar #facebook #Goa #India #Lok Sabha #Narendra Modi #social media


Before Narendra Modi is sworn in as prime minister on 26 May, a young shipbuilding professional may well be behind bars, for slamming the now former Gujarat chief minister on Facebook during the Lok Sabha election campaign. Facebook screen grab of Goa+ A trial court on Thursday rejected the anticipatory bail application moved by Devu Chodankar, a shipbuilding diploma holder working in Mumbai, clearing the way for his possible arrest, even as the police want to probe if Chodankar had broader plans to “promote communal and social disharmony” in Goa.

During the run up to the Lok Sabha polls, Chodankar, in a post on Goa+, a popular forum with over 47,000 members, had claimed that if elected to power, Modi would unleash a ‘holocaust’. He deleted his post subsequently. However, justifying his post subsequently on another popular local Facebook forum, Goa Speaks, Chodankar while apologising for his choice of words had stood by the sum of his argument, calling it his crusade against the “tyranny of fascists”. He also claimed that some elitist right wing elements were in the process of filing a first information report with the Goa Police’s Cyber Cell. The police came into the picture when former chairman of the Confederation of Indian Industries Atul Pai Kane filed an FIR against him in March this year under sections 153(A), 295(A) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and section 125 of the People’s Representation Act and 66-A of the Information Technology Act. Some of the sections are non-bailable in nature.

Kane in his complaint said Chodandkar had threatened Facebook users from voting for the BJP in the Lok Sabha polls. Opposition parties at that time had protested the FIR calling it an attempt by the BJP to muzzle criticism. “The complaint is against Devu for making inflammatory statements and trying to create communal disharmony, not comments against the BJP,” Kane had explained in his online post. Police, in their plea filed before the District and Sessions judge, more than agreed with Kane and now want custodial interrogation of Chodankar “for recovery of cyber forensic evidence at his instance” and the motive of the crime. Critically, police inspector Rajesh Job of the Cyber Cell in his say claims: “Custodial interrogation of the accused is very much essential to find out any motive of a larger game plan to promote communal and social disharmony in the state”.

Job claims that the delay in response by the Facebook legal cell forced the investigating police to resort to alternate means to confirm Chodankar’s identity. Subsequently, two summons have already been issued to Chodankar. Facebook is still abuzz with comments on the incident.

Writes Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Mumbai alumnus Dr Samir Kelekar, who has been campaigning to drop police action against Devu for his post. “No one is justifying what Devu wrote, but it is draconian to put someone behind bars for a mere FB post which has had no affect on the society-at-large,” he says. Chodankar’s legal counsel Jatin Naik says the next step would be approach the High Court for relief.



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India Supreme Court rewards Goa Iron Ore looters

Bhahujan Mukti Party is deeply outraged at the Supreme Court Judgement of April 21, 2014 allowing iron ore mining without prosecuting those responsible for the loot of the minerals. Shah Commission report submitted the Parliament of India 19 months ago has completely exposed the loot of minerals in Goa for the past two decades and named persons responsible.

Supreme Court Judgement admits that iron ore export from the year 2007 onwards has been totally illegal. Yet the Judgement does not call for booking and prosecution of those who robbed Goa’s iron ore during this period of time. Instead it allows them 20 million tonnes of ore to be exported annually. Supreme Court of India instead of punishing the robbers has instead choose to reward them. This is not a justice by any standard. Supreme Court has joined the party of the looters of Goa and its judgement is highly deplorable.

At least to the minimum Supreme Court should have directed that all those responsible for the loot since 2007 when the mining leases expired should have been sent to jail. This includes All the mining companies operating mines with no mining leases, All the responsible officials from Indian Bureau of Mines, Regional office of Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF), Pollution Control Board of Goa State, Forest department, Forest Ministers, Mines Ministers, Chief Ministers, Central Environment Ministers etc.

Bhahujan Mukti Party holds that not a single kilo of Ore from Goa be lifted, Shipped, dug and exported till all those responsible are booked and prosecution proceeded. Only then any talk of starting of mining of Goa under strict monitoring can be entertained. Present government is totally incompetent to tackle illegal mining. Though Sand mining in Goa’s rivers is illegal it is allowed with collaboration of ministers in Goa. We can only imagine what is going to be the fate of iron ore mines in this situation.

Besides most of the political parties in Goa are funded by mining companies who looted Goa for past many decades and are opposing Political Parties to come under the purview of RTI Act for fear of getting exposed completely. Currently Goa Government is supervising corruption with regard to Sand mining all over Goa.

Cliffton de Souza
Goa State


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Supreme Court judgement on illegal mining in Goa

English: The supreme court of india. Taken abo...

English: The supreme court of india. Taken about 170 m from the main building outside the perimeter wall (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Claude Alvares


The 111-page judgement of the Supreme Court of India in the Goa mining case was pronounced by Justice A.K. Patnaik on 21 April


2014 at 2.00 pm in a packed courtroom filled with blackcoats. Unfortunately, I was not in the Court room, but was informed by Prashant Bhushan later that the Court thanked the Goa Foundation and Adv. Prashant Bhushan for prosecuting the case with dedication and hard work. But those few words of praise in open court are not found in the judgement for the simple reason that the judgement itself contains most of the reliefs sought by the Goa Foundation.




The Court has allowed the petition in terms of the detailed directions which are already posted here by Rahul Basu. You can get the full judgement on the goafoundation website. Let me list the principal issues that have been decided and their implications:




a) Challenges made by the mining companies and lease-holders to the Justice Shah Commission’s report. Several mining lessees had filed petitions asking for quashing of the Justice Shah Commission Report. The Court side-steps the challenges by recording the statement of the Advocate General (Goa) that if and when they take action on the basis of the Shah Commission’s findings, they will give the affected persons/companies a fair hearing and also allow them to produce evidence in their defence. It refuses to quash the Justice Shah Commission report, however. At the same time, it says it cannot direct prosecution of the lessees on the basis of the Justice Shah Commission’s findings since they were not given a hearing. But the Court says it will use the Shah Commission’s findings nonetheless on legal and environmental issues to consider granting the reliefs sought by the Goa Foundation. It then proposes to do just that.




b) Challenges to the State Govt’s order suspending mining operations and the Ministry’s Order suspending Environment Clearances (ECs): Several writ petitions were filed by the lease owners challenging the suspension order dated 10.9.2012 issued by the Goa government closing down the mines. Petitions were also filed against the MOEF’s order dated 14.9.2012 suspending all ECs for mining leases in the state of Goa. The Court has rejected both challenges. In other words, the order of the Goa government closing down mining in Goa has been found to be correct and proper in the context of the Court having found that all mining leases expired on 21.11.2007.




c) Large-scale Illegal Mining in Goa: GF had urged that the leases had expired in 2007 and should therefore be cancelled and all mining after that date was illegal. This was our main challenge. The Court has agreed with the petitioner that the validity of the leases has expired by 21.11.2007. By one fell stroke, the entire mining industry finds itself without even a fig leaf of legality. All mining operations from 21.11.2007 are declared illegal. Where does the position of those who pleaded for the re-start of “legal” mining as opposed to “illegal mining” now stand after this declaration? That debate has now ended squarely in favour of the petitioner’s contentions. This was the main prayer in the petition filed by the Foundation: cancel all the leases because of illegalities. The Court agrees. The petition is allowed. Implications are vast and not just for Goa. The provision of deemed extension cannot be used, says the Court, in the case of second renewals. This will apply in other states as well, since the Court has decisively interpreted the central Act, the Mines & Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957, notably section 8 (3) governing the grant and renewal of leases. 20 pages of the judgement (pp.16-35) are solely on this significant interpretation of the law.




Since all leases are declared invalid from 21.11.2007, all previous environment clearances now go out of the window. Obviously all the ECs were granted to leases that are no longer valid after 2007. They cannot subsist. Any fresh grant of lease or renewal of lease will have to go through the EC process all over again. In para 61 of the judgement, there is reference to a set of directions issued by the Court to the MOEF to set up an independent regulator who will ensure that ECs are issued by MOEF on proper scientific and environmental considerations. The Court has removed the EIA assessment power of the Ministry since it was being subjected to political misuse. The Court had directed that the independent regulator be set up by the MOEF by the 31st of March. All future EIAs and ECs will therefore have to go through the regulator who will be independent of the Ministry. So ECs are not going to be that easy to get in future. Further, while granting EC, the authorities will have to consider anew the quantity of ore permissible to each lease, such that it is within the overall limits (20 million tonnes) prescribed for the State in the judgement. Leases in forest areas simply cannot be granted without prior clearance under the FCA, 1980 even if the lessees do not intend to interfere with the forest portions of the lease. And so on.




So, while the stay on mining in Goa imposed by the Supreme Court Court is vacated upto 20 million tons, mining cannot start because there are no people with valid leases! New leases have to be granted. They have to get ECs. How much time will all this take? Your guess is as good as mine!




The declaration that the mining was illegal from 2007 leaves the door open for proceedings for recovery of some Rs.30,000 crores from the lease-holders since the ore was illegally mined. (This works out to pproximately Rs.2 lakh per person in Goa, three times the state’s budget, three times the state’s debt.) This the state of Goa must now recover. It can attach Sesa Ghor and Cidade de Goa and other real estate from the mining companies to recover the money. Besides the Rs.30,000 crores from illegal mining over five years, it also has to recover Rs.35,000 crores as per the Shah Commission’s findings (mining outside lease areas).




In the meanwhile, the State of Goa is already getting the sales proceeds from the disposal of inventories of 15 million tonnes which are in the midst of e-auction. This will be worth Rs.4,500 crores. This is another gift from the Goa Foundation, together with the Rs.30,000 crores and the Rs.35,000 (from Justice Shah). We are talking of some Rs.70,000 crore worth of illegal mining, which is 16 years revenue of the Goa government! And there are still people who want to abuse the role and work of the Goa Foundation. Well, you can’t please all the people all the time.




d) Mine Dumps outside the Lease area: The next question the Court answers is whether the practice of dumping rejects and mine wastes outside leases is legal and whether there are any provisions of law that legitimise it. The Goa Foundation pointed out to some 2796 ha encroachment by mining dumps outside leases as documented by the Justice Shah Commission. The mining companies had urged that as long as the dumps were on lands owned by them or for use of which they had made arrangements with the owners, there was no violation of law. The Court disagrees with their submissions.




The Court holds with the Goa Foundation and supports the Justice Shah Commission’s point of view. It reiterates its view taken in the Karnataka Bellary Iron Ore Mining petition. It holds all dumping outside the lease as illegal. It holds that any removal of material from dumps would need environment clearance. That settles the issue of mining from dumps. No longer will lessees be able to create huge mining dumps outside the leased areas. All work in connection with mining, i.e., pits, ore stacks, overburdens and rejects will all have to be conducted within the boundaries of the lease. In other words, the operating area has been severely and strictly limited to the boundaries of the lease and mine lessees can no longer encroach on open areas in Goa, even if they have the money to buy people or private land. This declaration will eventually facilitate rehabilitation of the mine as well, since excavation of new pits may not be possible unless the stacked material is removed and the earlier pits filled up.




e) Buffer zone and Ecologically Sensitive Areas outside the boundaries of wildlife sanctuaries. The Court observes that in its order dated 4.8.2008 (in the Godavarman case), it had imposed a one km ban on mining as an interim measure. That ban stands for the present. However, as regards prohibition of mining within 10 km buffer zone around wildlife sanctuaries, the Court records that this issue has not been finally decided by the Court and hence there is no ban on mining outside one km but within 10 km of wildlife sanctuaries..




While noting the Goa Govt’s submission that Goa is a small state, bounded on one side by the Western Ghats and wildlife sanctuaries, lush forests, CRZ limitations and agricultural lands declared as ecozones, the Court also records the stand of the MoEF that the Goa government position on zero buffer is rejected. Stating that the procedure laid down under the Environment Protection Act, 1986 will have to be followed for any restrictions beyond 1 km, the Court directs the MOEF to complete the process of notification of the buffer zone in the space of 6 months. (Those notifications have since appeared in the Central gazette and last date for filing of objections/suggestions is the first week of May, 2014).




f) Violations of Specific Provisions of the Mines Act: The next major issue the Court examines is the charge made by petitioners – and supported strongly by the Central Empowered Committee –that there has been large scale violation of Rule 37 of the Mineral Concession Rules. This provision prohibits mining being done on any lease by any person who is not the owner of the lease without the prior permission of the Govt. The Fomentos, Timblos and Sesa Goa made their fortunes mining other people’s leases in addition to their own. The Court has said action must be taken by the Government on this. Action provided in the Mineral Concession Rules is cancellation of the lease which has been wrongly occupied and mined.




Similarly, petitioner had pointed out to violation of Rule 38 of MCR (highlighted by the Justice Shah Commission as well), that several leases adjoining each other were being mined jointly, without the benefit of an amalgamation order. Such violations were explained away by the State Govt as not being of serious consequence since the State has powers to grant transfers of lease or amalgamation of leases. However, the court has taken serious note of such transgressions and of the casual way in which mining law was operating in the State and it has directed action on this ground as well.




g) Production and Transportation of Minerals: The Court agrees with the CEC that there was a complete lack of control on production and transportation of minerals from the mining leases in the State of Goa. However, it notes that the Goa government has brought in stricter regulations to prevent illegal mining and transportation and it hopes these will deal with the problem in future.




h) Environmental Damage to the State from Mining: What of the large scale environmental damage from reckless mining which has been elaborately documented through photographs and report by the petitioner? The Court refers to its Expert Committee and extracts several damaging paragraphs on the negative impacts of mining in the state from the committee’s report. It accepts the opinion of the Expert Committee that for the present a cap of 20 million tonnes may be set, subject to its final report which will take a year to complete. It agrees with the Expert Committee that even this 20 million tonnes must be removed with proper precaution. It also includes the question of how the dumps are to be handled in the terms of reference of the Expert Committee. It castigates, in this connection, the abysmal conduct of the State Pollution Control Board which permitted mining lessees to violate the Air and Water Acts with impunity and never took action to implement and enforce the law. It said the Board will now take action including closure of the leases if they are found to be creating pollution beyond the norms in force.




i)        Intergenerational equity: The Court accepts the submissions of the petitioner that provision must be made for the future generations from the sale of its present ore assets. It agrees with the proposal of the Expert Committee (which itself was based on presentations made by the Goa Foundation before the Expert Committee) that to provide for the need and welfare of future generations of people in Goa, some portion of the earnings from sale of mineral ore should be set aside in perpetuity in the form of a Goa Iron Ore Permanent Fund. The Court has directed setting up of the Fund and said 10% of the sale price from iron ore sales will go to the Fund. So, for example, if there is a sale of Rs.10,000 crores in a year, Rs.1,000 crores of that will have to go into the Permanent Fund (in addition to royalty payments). The State Government in consultation with the CEC will submit a report to the Court in six months on the modalities of the Permanent Fund. We have suggested that Government could use the interest from the money deposited in the Permanent Fund, after adjusting for inflation. This proposal, together with the cancellation of the existing leases, is a significant advance. Civil society members in other states of India are bound to demand setting up of such Permanent Funds in their states for their coming generations. This is the landmark nature of Justice Patnaik’s (and his brother judges, S.S. Nijjar and Fakkir M.I. Kalifulla’s) judgement. They will be remembered for all time for this signal direction alone. (Both Justices Patnaik and Nijjar retire in the first week of June.)




j) Auction of Leases: The Goa Foundation had sought a direction to the Goa government not to allow any leases or renew any leases except through the process of public auction. Iron ore, like spectrum, is a scarce natural resource. Its alienation or depletion must get the State the best possible price. (Please note all leases were granted practically free by the Portuguese government. In fact, when the concessions were converted into leases by the 1987 Act, concession holders were compensated in cash amounts for the action.) The Court has chosen not to issue such a direction as it is for the Govt to decide on the best way to raise revenues from the sale of natural resources. However, it has rather ominously laid down that should the procedures for grant or renewal of leases not be fair or transparent, or in consonance with constitutional requirements, the Court can, on being petitioned, review such renewals.




On balance, what has the Goa Foundation got on its petition? Almost all the reliefs it sought, except for criminal prosecution on the basis of Justice Shah Commission Report, restraining the Goa government from granting renewals without auction and a restriction on mining within 10 km of wildlife sanctuaries. What has the Government of Goa got? A permission to mine upto 20 million tonnes with strict implementation of the provisions of the mining law and the various environment protection Acts. However, since the leases are all cancelled, mining cannot start in the near future. If the government, under the inducements of mining companies, grants renewals as it did in the past, these will be subject to legitimate judicial review.




The judgement has settled legal issues, as a Court is expected to do. However, the petition is not finally disposed of. It will come back on board once the three reports called for are filed in the Court: 1) The final report on the cap on production. The present figure of 20 million is temporary. It could go up or down, depending on the one year long study approved now by the Court; 2) The report on the auction of 15 million tonnes; and 3) The report on the Goa Iron Ore Permanent Fund and its set up, to be done by the Goa government in consultation with the CEC.


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Goa books Devu Chodankar for posting anti-BJP messages #Censorship #WTFnews

PANAJI: Cyber crime cell of Goa police on Wednesday registered a complaint against a person for his alleged inflammatory posts on a social networking site which were targeting the BJP ahead of the Lok Sabha polls.
A complaint in this regard was lodged by Atul Pai claiming that accused  Devu Chodankar posted provocative messages on the social networking site, Facebook. The FB posts according to the complainant could trigger enmity between two communities and instill fear among the minority communities informed
The post according to information was related to forthcoming Lok Sabha polls wherein the accused seems to have warned voters from voting the BJP. This is first such election-related complaint that has been registered with the cyber crime cell.
According to information, the accused in his post on the social networking site has reportedly said that if Modi government comes to power it will lead to holocaust of the minorities.
However, the post seems to have been deleted by the accused as such police will now contact the concerned (Facebook) in order to obtain the data.
According to the information, the complaint was made at the Crime Branch and was subsequently transferred to the Cyber Crime cell.
Cyber crime cell has booked an offence under 153A, 295A of IPC, section 125 of representation of the people act and 66-A of IT act and are investigating.
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Goa mining case proceedings

Claude Alvares

The Supreme Court will complete its proceedings on the Goa mining case on Monday, 24 March, 2014. The report of the expert committee on Intergenerational Equity and Goa mining will be shared with the Court on that day. The report has already been filed. However, because the Court is on a week’s vacation, we will not get a copy till 24th morning.

In the meanwhile, the Court’s registrar has handed out copies of the Regional Environmental Impact Assessment Study of Mining in Goa Region, prepared by the Indian School of Mines, Dhanbad, for the Ministry for the Destruction of Environment & Forests.

The ISM report is 22 volumes and is designed to give everyone a headache if they want to find any logic in its findings or recommendations.

The report was to be handed over to the Supreme Court end of September 2013. However, as the Court took the view that it must have an expert recommendation on a mining cap for Goa, the ISM was induced to delay the filing of the report so that it could add a few paragraphs on capping, which it did by November.

Neither capping nor intergenerational equity issues are part of its terms of reference.

The ISM study recommends a cap of 25 million tonnes (24.995 mtpa to be precise) if the mining company continues to use trucks with 10 tonne capacity and they occupy the roads for 9 hours daily. (The figure of 24.999 mtpa is very much like the pricing we get for Bata shoes and other commodities.)

ISM also says if the trucks can occupy the roads for 16 hours, the cap could be taken up to 37.69 mtpa.

It also recommends replacing the 10 tonner trucks with 16 tonners. It says if we have 16 tonners, 4 lane undivided dedicated corridor for transportation corridors (built with public money no doubt), the industry could export 37.685 mtpa.

If pipe conveyors are used, it says production can be jacked up to 50 million tonnes. It says if 25 mtpa is extracted, ore will last 45-50 years.

The study was conducted from May 2011 to October 2013. It confirms that during the period mining was active, all air pollution values were violated.

Ministry for Destruction of Environment and Forests paid out more than Rs.2 crores of public money for the report which now no one will read but which could be used to wrap fish in the Mapusa market for one full day sale (amount of fish is not much these days).

Now the NEERI is going to do the same study all over again but there is no mining going on, so what do they study? NEERI has filed the profile of their proposed study. More on that tomorrow. Probably another Rs.2 crores for that study as well?


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Mining company office in Goa raided #Vedanta #SesaSterlite


Mining company office in Goa raided


Panaji, Feb 25: The office of the mining company Sesa Sterlite here was raided on Tuesday by officials of the Department of Revenue Intelligence (DRI), a company official said.



A team of six officials of the Department of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) raided the corporate headquarters of Sesa Sterlite located at the Patto commercial complex and conducted search and examination of company records.

Sesa Sterlite is one of the leading mining companies in Goa and is part of global mining giant Vedanta Resources.

This is the second instance of mining companies being raided in the last one month.

Read more here –

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#India – Probe panel says Orissa’s illegal iron ore mining at RS 60,000 cr

Priyadarshi Siddhanta : New Delhi, Thu Jan 02 2014,  IE


The commission set up under a Supreme Court order in 2012 has demanded a CBI probe into these illegal mining. The MB Shah Inquiry Commission has estimated the size of illegal iron ore mining in Orissa at Rs 60,000 crore and has said half of the profits from mines in the state should go to the local population. The commission has, however, let off large mining companies including Tata Steel, Essel Mining (Birla group) and SAIL from any fresh probe. It has not found any evidence of illegal mining by these companies but that of over extraction from their mines.

The commission set up under a Supreme Court order in 2012 has demanded a CBI probe into these illegal mining. To block such mining, the commission has recommended that export of iron ore from the state should be banned as it cuts the incentive to mine the ores. However, the Naveen Patnaik-led state government has ruled out any such probe saying its own administrative and police machinery can handle illegal mining cases. But Shah has insisted that wherever the state police has filed FIRs those too should be entrusted to the CBI. Even before the report had been filed, export of iron ore from Orissa has dipped to 4.34 million tonnes in FY 13 down from 10.01 in the year before.

High export duty, low demand from China and a hostile regulatory environment are responsible for the drop. In its report recently submitted to the Union mines ministry, it has also traced how illegal miners produce false excise certificates to claim a lower freight rates from the Railways. The Railways charge lower rates for domestic transport of ore compared with exports. The miners used the lower charges to earn about Rs 1,900 crore in six years while exporting the ore too. The commission has asked Railways to ask CBI to probe these freight evasion. Alarmed by the panel’s suggestion, the Railways have informed the commission that it has detected such evasion cases against 14 companies and have issued them notices to recover an amount of Rs 1,874 crore. The scale of evasion is particularly high in south eastern railways zone.

The report by the commission is likely to be discussed by the Union Cabinet on Thursday for tabling in Parliament. “The value of unlawful extraction of iron ore is about Rs 59,203 crore. Till now, wealthy and mighty persons got the leases. They pay meagre royalty and earn windfall profits,” the commission has remarked in its report. It has suggested that the producing firms should be asked to sell their output through e-auction only. The state government has, meanwhile, accepted that it will cap the production from major iron ore mines including Joda at 40 million tonne and Koira mines at 12 MT annually, a top state government official said. He cited that the state government has served 146 notices to various companies for indulging in over extraction by flouting the mining plans.

Recommending stiff penalties for miners violating green norms under Forest Conservation Act, the commission suggested that violators be imprisoned for six months which could be extended to seven years. Monetary penalties should be imposed on them as well, it said. The commission said it was disturbing to find that although most mines are located in the tribal-dominated zones, but the tribals have remained a deprived lot. Unless the miners operating in those zones are mandated to spend half of their profits, their lot would not be improved.

Till recently, the ministry of corporate affairs was toying with a proposal to give non-transferable shares of the mining companies to the eldest woman member of each family living near the iron ore mines. The panel had earlier submitted its report on Goa in which it has pointed out illegal mining on a similar scale. Following the panel’s report, the Goa government has closed down operations in about 60 mines within the state.


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#India – Data fudged for mining clearance #WTFnews

Sugandh Juneja [1]

Issue Date:

Iron ore mines in Goa also concealed facts to get environmental clearance, shows report

Goa has incurred a loss of 35,000 crore because of illegal mining

SEVERAL mines in Goa fudged data in the environmental impact assessment (EIA) to get clearance from the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF), shows an analysis by Gujarat-based Centre for Environment Education (CEE). Several others did not provide crucial information on land use pattern, water resources, biodiversity and air quality in EIA, it shows. Concealment or providing false information in EIA contravenes the EIA Notification 2006. Though CEE is yet to make the report public, its executive summary is available with Down To Earth.

In 2011, following public demand, the Goa government asked CEE to assess the quality of EIA reports of 105 operational iron ore mines. CEE was also asked to examine whether the projects complied with environmental clearance (EC) conditions and took adequate steps to implement environment management plan (EMP) to mitigate the impact of mining. CEE experts analysed 95 mining projects and visited 17 mining sites between 2011 and 2013.

The CEE analysis comes as a blow to Goa’s mining industry, already under fire from Justice M B Shah Commission. The commission was set up by the Union Ministry of Mines in 2010 to look into illegal iron ore and manganese mining in the country. In its report submitted to Parliament in September 2012, the commission stated that Goa incurred a loss of Rs 35,000 crore due to illegal mining. Following this, the state banned mining and MoEF kept all ECs for mines in Goa in abeyance.

The summary of CEE report says that while going ahead with mining, hardly any leaseholder followed the process of public hearing adequately. Only one of the 96 projects assessed held public hearing at the project site. This when the EIA Notification states that the hearing should be conducted at the project site or as close to the site as possible.

To avoid seeking clearance from the National Board of Wildlife, leaseholders fudged distance of mine lease boundary from protected areas, notes the summary.

Because of mining, air pollution, water pollution, water turbidity and siltation of streams have increased in the state. Mining has also resulted in declining groundwater table and reduced agricultural productivity. Yet, these aspects were not discussed in the EIA reports, notes the summary. It further notes that EMP implemented by the mine leaseholders were inadequate to mitigate these impacts, particularly abating air pollution, waste dump management and managing traffic burden due to truck movement.

Earlier, Madhav Gadgil, the ecologist who oversaw the analysis, had said in his draft report, that mining waste is turning into a major problem in Goa. So far, MoEF has granted ECs to 182 mines in the state with an annual production capacity of 70 million tonnes. For every tonne of iron ore mined in Goa, three tonnes of waste is generated. This translates into 200 million tonnes of waste earth annually. “It is necessary to consider the cumulative environmental impacts of such a huge turnover of soil in an ecologically sensitive area like the Western Ghats,” Gadgil said in his draft. Besides, EC granted to a mining project allows dumping mining waste outside the mine lease area, whereas the Indian Bureau of Mines, which approves the Mine plan, does not allow this. Gadgil thus suggested that leaseholder should seek separate EC for dumping mine waste outside the lease area.

CEE recommends establishing local committees to monitor whether mine leaseholders are complying with EC conditions. It also recommends capacity building of government departments to provide a mechanism whereby the state government may first review the EIA report and ask for revisions before passing it to MoEF for review. The consultant preparing the EIA report be held responsible for the data, states the summary.

“Mining in Goa shows the way EIAs are being conducted. We need to make the clearance process transparent and accountable,” says Chandra Bhushan, deputy director general of Delhi non-profit Centre for Science and Environment. “We also need to make local communities stakeholders in the clearance process,” he adds.


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