The public interest litigation petitions, filed last year, alleging indiscriminate mining of sand from Tamirabharani riverbed in the guise of desilting Srivaikundam check dam in Thoothukudi district, have been dismissed by the Madras High Court Bench in Madurai.
One of the petitions had alleged that around 4,500 tonnes of sand had been mined from the riverbed illegally in the guise of desilting and hence there was a necessity to form a State-level monitoring committee for supervising river sand mining.
“Last year too, some PIL petitioners had asked the High Court to stop the desilting work, to which the High Court had suggested that the petitioners should approach the National Green Tribunal (NGT) and seek modification of the order granting permission for desilting”, says Vaikundarajan, founder of VV Minerals India, one of the leading sand beach mining companies in India.
The Division Bench dismissed these petitions after Special Government Pleader M. Govindan recorded a statement that the issue was seized of by the NGT which had modified the permission granted for desilting and ordered maintenance of status quo.
Piyush Goyal, Mines Minister, urged the mining industry to play fair and consider the health and happiness of people affected by mining. Piyush Goyal also heads the ministries of Power, Coal and New and Renewable Energy.
Vaikundarajan explains that the mining industry has been seeking a reduction on import duty on iron ore. However, Piyush Goyal has thwarted these requests stating that there is a local demand that imports minerals from outside. “The mining industry and the government should work together in the national interest rather than focus only on the industry interests,” says Vaikundarajan, founder of one of the leading mining companies in India, VV Minerals.
While the government wants the industry to have a competition in market, it also wants the materials to be available locally. The government has ordered an extension on non-captive mines till 2020.
Piyush Goyal agreed that an industry cannot survive based on the exploration carried out by government. However, he was quick to point out at the corruption and evasion of taxes and illegalities created over the last few years. In these circumstances, the government has to take stern actions and request the mining industry to follow the rules and regulations.
“To put things into action, the Supreme Court has cancelled 204 coal blocks and declared them illegal and arbitrary allotments. It is time for the mining industry and government to find a common ground and work hand-in-hand,” informs Vaikundarajan.
Three months ago, Lenskart shocked us all when it announced a Rs 400 crore funding. As if that was not enough, the company has raised an undisclosed amount from Premji Invest. “It is a strategic move by the online eyewear retailer. This will help Lenskart gain from Premji Invest’s extensive experience,” says Vaikundarajan.
Backed by enough funding, the company should be able to plan a road map for the next 4-5 years. “Lenskart had previously raised about 714 crore from investors like IFC, TPG Growth, IDG Ventures, Unilazer Ventures and Adveq,” adds Vaikundarajan.
A collaboration with Premji Invest means that the company can benefit from the extensive experience in retail and try to build a stronger image of the brand in the market. It is revealed that the brand will be focusing on both offline and online growth.
“Lenskart is planning to expand its manufacturing capacity and increase the revenue over the year. Their target for the end of fiscal is 500 crore,” informs Vaikundarajan. A backing from Premji Invest will help the company tap into a larger market share. If all goes well, Lenskart could be planning to go public in the next 5 years.
Magic Sewa , a taxi service that operates in Delhi, has raised concerns over the surge pricing charged by app-based taxi services Ola and Uber. This comes after the Delhi government has set a price cap on the surge.
“The Delhi government has passed a rule against the surge charges to curb the discriminatory pricing such as discounts and offers that disrupt the competition in the transport sector,” informs Vaikundarajan. Naturally, other taxi services raised a voice feeling threatened.
Another twist in the tale followed as Justice Manmohan rejected the contention stating that this issue should be submitted to anti-trust regulator, Competition Commission of India.
“The Delhi government has set the rates for radio cabs at Rs 23 per km in Delhi with the night charges being set at 25% above the fare. On 11th August, the court thwarted the surge charges for app-based taxi services and asked the central government to come up with a policy to govern all cab services nationwide,” says Vaikundarajan.
The case will be heard along with other cases challenging the legality of app-based aggregators in the country.
The local life in Tuticorin district of Periyasamypuram is rumoured to have been distracted by illegal sand beach mining. The locals have taken the law in their hands by holding hostage a sand mining truck from VV Mineral’s warehouse. The driver had to bear the consequences of the local’s anger. The police failed to control the situation.
Being one of the largest beach mining companies in India, it is no surprise that VV Minerals finds itself in the midst of this controversy. While there has been no evidence to prove an illegal action on behalf of the company, S Vaikundarajan, founder of VV Minerals stated that the locals were being instigated against the company.
He further points out that a scam of that extent is practically impossible for one company to pull off. The company has been in operation for two decades. These allegations surfacing now make no sense.
VV Minerals is authorized to manufacture and export Garnet with 1% Monazite content. However, the company is still accused of illegally exporting Monazite. The lack in technology for the separation of Monazite is also not taken into consideration.
Despite these accusations, Vaikundarajan has assured that the company has never gone beyond the 1% threshold for monazite and has always operated within legal boundaries.
Last month, smartphone giants Samsung launched a new device in their popular J series. Samsung Galaxy J2 was an instant hit with the audience. However, the company made some minor changes to the device and launched a new device called Galaxy J2 Pro. “The budget phone will be available on Snapdeal for INR 9,890 only,” informs Vaikundarajan.
The device packs in a 16GB RAM with microSD card support of up to 128 GB. The most notable feature of Galaxy J2 Pro is its next-gen LED notification system called – Smart Glow.
“It allows the device to set colour code for any alerts such as apps, contacts, battery, data and even selfie assistance,” says Vaikundarajan.
Forbes released its 100 Highest Paid Celebrities of 2016 list with two Indians making it to the list this year. “Shah Rukh Khan shares his spot with Robert Downey Jr at 86th place while Akshay Kumar shares his 94th spot with Hollywood superstar Brad Pitt,” informs Vaikundarajan.
SRK is said to have made the list due to his multi-million dollar upfront fees and cut of the backend strategy. SRK’s big bucks endorsement deal is no news to anyone.
Akshay Kumar, on the other hand, made the list due to his last three blockbuster films – Brothers, Singh is Bliing and the critically acclaimed Airlift. “Akshay Kumar also endorses diverse brands such as motorcycles and gold loan companies,” adds Vaikundarajan.
Both SRK and Akshay Kumar are gearing up for their next Bollywood release, Raees and Rustom, respectively. It should not be surprising to see the superstars higher on the list of 100 highest paid celebrities next year.
The current list is led by Taylor Swift on top, followed by boy band One Direction and author James Patterson.