Our objection to EJatlas and their reply

From: Joan Martinezalier
Date: Mon, Apr 17, 2017 at 1:46 PM
Subject: from the EJAtlas, “Sand mining in Tamil Nadu”
To: president@beachminerals.org, EJOLT Project <ejoltmap@gmail.com>

Thank you for your message and for the information regarding this case. We have withdrawn the case on Sand mining in Tamil Nadu from the EJAtlas, in order to rewrite it as two separate cases, i.e. separating conflicts on sand and gravel mining in rivers and beaches as a raw material for the building industry,
and (as a separate issue) possibly conflicts on sand mining in beaches for ilmenite and other materials (if they exist in Tamil Nadu, as they exist in other countries – we have to do more research this). For instance, in the EJAtlas we have cases on conflictive ilmenite mining in sand dunes in Madagascar, South Africa (https://ejatlas.org/conflict/pondoland-wild-coast-xolobeni-mining-threat-south-africa). Are there similar cases in Tamil Nadu, and elsewhere in India? Your help on this issue would be appreciated.
Sincere apologies for the incovenience caused. You are right to complain. We shall take carefully into account all the information you have sent. With out best wishes,
———
Prof. Joan Martínez-Alier
ICTA-Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona
08193 Spain

www.envjustice.org


———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Pauldurai Perumal <president@beachminerals.org>
Date: Mon, Apr 17, 2017 at 11:48 AM
Subject: Objection to the article “Illegal Sand Mining in rivers and beaches in Tamilnadu, India” published on 12.04.2017
To: leah.tmer@gmail.com, ejoltp@gmail.com
To,The EditorEnvironmental Justice Atlas

Sir,

We draw your attention to the article “Illegal Sand Mining in rivers and beaches in Tamilnadu, India” published on 12.04.2017, in your website. The author has grossly mixed up two separate and completely different activities namely River sand mining and Beach sand minerals mining clearly indicating complete lack of understanding of the topics. Further, the article is based on speculative media reports grossly misleading the public at large.

We present below the facts regarding Beach sand mineral mining which will help you understand the truth and you will realise that  the accusations made in the published article against beach sand mining are malafide, false and imaginary intending to discredit the business and bring disrepute to people engaged in this business.

1)       Beach sand mineral mining is a permitted activity in the coastal regions as per Law. In fact, Beach Sand Mineral mining activity has been in existence for several decades in Tamilnadu and public sector company  Indian Rare Earths ( IREL)  was the first entrant into this field. Subsequently other private companies also entered into this activity and presently both public sector and many private companies are engaged in this BSM business in Tamilnadu.

2)       The article contains several sweeping and irresponsible statements like “Laws remain in paper only”, Environmental clearances through bribery”, “ Violations of regulations ” etc. All these statements are false and baseless and as you can read below, there are Rules governing these minerals and there are various approvals required to carry out Beach Sand mineral mining.

We wish to add the VV Minerals has all these necessary approvals and has been carrying out its operations in accordance with the Law.

3)       Beach sand minerals (garnet, ilmenite , zircon, rutile , sillimanite , monazite) are classified as major minerals and placed in Schedule I- Part B – Atomic minerals in the Mines and Minerals Development and Regulation (MMDR) Act. Mining leases are granted by the State Government after getting the approval from the Central Government. In addition, there are several clearances and approvals obtained from various statutory and regulatory authorities as follows:

  1. a) Clearance from Ministry of Enviornmnet and Forest (MOEF), Govt. Of India and also the State Pollution control board
  2. b) Licence from Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) for operating the BSM plants.  There are regular inspections by AERB and mandatory submission of regular returns to AERB to ensure compliance.
  3. c) Mining Plan Approval by Indian Bureau of Mines (IBM) and Atomic Minerals Directorate (AMD), Govt of India. Mining leases are granted only after submission of Approved Mining Plan. In addition there are regular inspections by IBM and submission of regular returns to these departments to ensure compliance.
  4. d) Approval from Directorate of Mines Safety (DGMS), Ministry of Labour, Govt. of India to ensure Safety in Beach Sand Mines. The BSM mines are subjected to Regular Inspections by DGMS and have to submit statutory returns.
  5. e) Directorate of  Geology & Mining  (DGM), Tamil Nadu State Govt. is the authority which grants mining leases. Transport permits are obtained from the district officer of DGM after royalty payment.  The district officers of DGM issue permits after verification of the mine sites.

4)       The statement “Vaikundarajan doing illegal mining worth 96,000-  crore in the last decade” is a completely false and baseless accusation without any supporting facts. Please ref para 5: http://www.beachminerals.org/wild-allegations-leveled-v-v-mineral-v-sundaram-ias-found-wrong-motive-envy-vindictive-far-away-truth/.  As mentioned above, VV Minerals owned by Vaikundarajan has secured all necessary approvals to conduct its business . Further, there are public sector and other private companies engaged in this business and Vaikundarajan is being singled out in these accusations by certain journalists like Sandhya Ravishankar due to personal animosity and ulterior motives. The article in your website is also based on these false accusations in media to troll Vaikundarajan and thus the media is misusing their freedom of press to malign him and his business.

5)       The article also purports to create misconceptions and fears about beach sand mining. These misconceptions are imaginary with no scientific basis. Beach sand mineral mining is a very environmentally friendly activity and the following highlights of this activity will dispel any negative bias towards beach sand mining.

             a) In the coastal tracts beach sand minerals are excavated from shallow pits varying in depth from less than a foot to about a few feet depth. The excavation of beach sand is done manually without deployment of any heavy earth moving equipment and so there is no air or noise pollution.

            b) After extraction of the valuable minerals, the barren sand is backfilled into the excavations. Thus, the  land is reclaimed and restored to its original topography.

         c) the deposition of the beach sand minerals onto the beach is a continuous process replenished by natural geologic processes and hence there is no disturbance to the beach topography by this activity.

          d) All the excavations are above the water table and so this activity does not disturb the groundwater table. Hence there is no impact on the groundwater resources or its quality.

6. Sandhya Ravishankar is paid news reporter engaged by one illegal mining gang. You can find more about her in http://vetri3337.blogspot.in/ , http://vvmemp.blogspot.in/ , http://niyasah01.blogspot.in/

Please publish the same in your website.

Yours Truly

N.Pauldurai @ Perumal

 

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