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.
The existing mines in Madhya Pradesh have found themselves in the spotlight. “Some instances of children drowning in mining pits filled with rain water have been reported. The concerned locals requested for an action to be taken immediately. Following this, the National Green Tribunal has asked the principal secretary and district collectors to carry out an inspection,” explains Vaikundarajan, founder and managing director of VV Minerals India, one of the leading sand beach mining companies in India.
Vaikundarajan further explains that the mining areas lack a safety mechanism to prevent these incidents from happening. Under the environmental clearance, there should be fencing around the area as well as guards patrolling the area.
Another case was filed by Afsar Khan pertaining to sourcing of raw material for crushers for construction of the road between Shahdol-Annuppur. The directions for investigation were given by Justice Dalip Singh as a judicial member and Satyawan Singh Garbyal as expert member. The next date for this hearing has been scheduled for October 20,2016.
“Mining industry should abide to all the environmental clearances. Safety of the employees and the locals should always be the utmost priority,” says 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.
Directed by Neeraj Pandey and starring Sushant Singh Rajput, MS Dhoni – The Untold Story, is one of the most awaited movies of this year. “Everyone wants to know the real story behind India’s Captain Cool. It has been the talk of town ever since the teaser was launched,” says Vaikundarajan.
The movie will soon be out and MS Dhoni is said to be a promotion team. Dhoni will be traveling with crew to promote the movie across 3 cities and interact with fans. “Dhoni is scheduled to visit Lovely Professional University in Jalandhar for the launch of trailer where he will also address over 35,000 fans,” informs Vaikundarajan.
The crew will also travel to Delhi and Mumbai for the launch of the trailer. Fans should be excited about the promotion as they will not only get to interact with MS Dhoni but also with the star who dons his role onscreen. Over a small period of time, Sushant Singh Rajput has emerged as an actor of great potential and managed to garner his own fan base.
Director Neeraj Pandey has delivered superhit movies in last few years and audience will have high expectations from his next. The film is scheduled to release on September 30.
Vaikundarajan sends his best wishes to the entire film crew and hopes the film breaks all box office records.