In a positive move for the mining industry, the Goa government has finally permitted the state mining industry to resume its operation in Goa. “The Goa government had restricted mining operation due to monsoons. With the monsoons behind us, mining industry can resume its operations,” says Vaikundarajan, founder of VV Minerals India, one of the largest sand beach mining companies in India.
Mining operations should be in full swing by the start of October. Prasanna Acharya, director of Mines and Geology, issued a statement informing the mining companies of the ban having been lifted.
The transportation of mineral by road was banned in the interest of public safety after some accidents on the main road came to light. On the request of locals, the government decided to ban transportation of minerals till monsoon had rescinded.
“Public safety is of utmost importance. With the lack of mining transportation roads in Goa, the trucks took to main road. A couple of accidents were reported by locals and the government was quick to take an action. Transportation was suspended till monsoon was over. The government also plans to construct a dedicated road for mining transportation,” says Vaikundarajan.
According to a blueprint being prepared by the government for the mining industry, mineral production in India needs to grow by 15% every year, so that mining’s share in India’s economic output can increase by 1 percentage point in the next 2-3 years.
“For mining industry to grow, mining operations need to begin at hundreds of mines which are stalled due to delays by government in providing environmental clearances, approvals and execution of lease deeds”, reflects Vaikundarajan, Founder of VV Minerals.
The mining ministry plans to execute the lease deeds of about 70-80 mines for which approvals were granted before 12 January 2015, when the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Amendment Act of 2015 came into operation. Additionally, about 100 mines are going be auctioned shortly.
The share of the mining and quarrying industry in gross value addition (GVA) in the economy is 2.4% at present. Minerals currently account for only 0.43% of GVA. Mining output increased by 9% in 2015-16 and 10.6% in the April-July period of 2016-17, according to official estimates.
Though there is uncertainty prevailing over a recovery in mineral prices. Despite this impressive growth in mineral production in Apr-July, growth by value contracted 7.2%.
“A recovery in mineral prices will depend on demand from user industries. But India is a consuming country, where volume of output holds more importance than value”, adds Vaikundarajan.
Villagers in Sanguem and Quepem talukas in South Goa have been concerned by the resumption of iron ore transportation activities in the area. Their concern points out at the lack of a bypass road to carry out the transportation.
The villagers met with Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar with a request for mining bypass on war-footing. Furthermore, the villagers put forth the demand to stop transportation activities till the bypass was ready and functional.
“The mining bypass is to be completed in three phases, however, has been delayed for now. This results in the trucks taking the main road and causing several fatal accidents,” explains Vaikundarajan, founder of VV Minerals, largest sand beach mining company in India.
The villagers explained that the bypass must be completed in all 3 phases – Uguem to Guddemol, Guddemo to Curchorem and Pirla to Uguem – before resuming the iron ore transportation. In March, two women in the village met with a fatal accident adding to the villager’s agitation.
“Around 6000 trucks are operational in Sanguem, Quepem and Curchorem. The issue was raised with the Assembly Session. The body has agreed to construct the mining bypass as soon as possible,” informs Vaikundarajan.
It is no surprise that false allegations are thrown around to gain mileage for the upcoming elections. Just before the elections in the state of Tamil Nadu, old allegations have surfaced with a new twist. It is being said that Jayalalitha has invested her black money in a company owned by S Vaikundarajan, founder of VV Minerals India, a sand beach mining company.
The opposition party has shown sign of desperation by pointing fingers at Jayalalitha who is expected to be the winner of 2016 Tamil Nadu elections. VV Minerals and S Vaikundarajan are the favourite talk of the town for the people of Tamil Nadu. It might have seemed easy to link them and fool the common man. But the assumption itself seems preposterous in the first place.
The allegations also suggest that Jayalalitha has been secretly assisting Vaikundarajan in the illegal sand beach mining controversy surrounding VV Minerals. Apparently, the financial links between Vaikundarajan and Jayalalitha have been traced by the Arvind Kejriwal led Aam Aadmi Party. Such revelations surfacing just before the elections indicate a lot about the nature of information being given to the common man. AAP has further alleged that Jayalalitha is also involved in the illegal beach mining in the state of Tamil Nadu.
VV Minerals is the largest beach-mining company in India. It specialises in the mining, production and export of Garnet and Ilmenite. The company is booming under the leadership of the young Managing Director, S Vaikundarajan.
National Award winning company VV Minerals has been in operation for over two decades under the leadership of its founder, S Vaikundarajan. The company is the largest producer and exporter of Garnet and Ilmenite in India. However, all these achievements and milestones have been overshadowed by allegations of illegal beach mining against the company.
Ashish Kumar, former district collector of Tuticorin, carried an unsuccessful raid on one of the warehouses of VV Minerals. Following this incident, Kumar was transferred to an undisclosed location. Vaikundarajan was immediately accused of his political influence to forward the transfer. However, it should be noted that Kumar’s previous assignment lasted only 45 days.
Thorium scam has been much talked about in the industry. The company is accused of amassing several wealth by illegally exporting Thorium. The company advocate cleared up the controversy by stating that the industry lack technology to separate Monazite from Ilmenite. The company has also appealed the government to permit setting up of a plant for separating Monazite and Thorium from Ilmenite.
The government has allowed a certain amount of Thorium content in the sand. VV Minerals assured that this amount has never been exceeded. “The company has operated within legal boundaries for over two decades. The allegation is a ploy by the competitors to hamper our reputation,” said Vaikundarajan.
When the elections were around the corner in the state of Tamil Nadu, old allegations resurfaced to target an innocent man. The rumour surrounding S Vaikudarajan, founder of sand beach mining company VV Minerals, was circulated stating that Jayalalitha had invested her black money in the company.
Despite these unethical attempts, Jayalalitha emerged victorious in 2016 Tamil Nadu elections. However, allegations surround VV Minerals continue to hamper the company’s reputations. Being one of the largest sand mining companies in India, it is easy to link the company to a scam. S Vaikundarajan points that it is impossible for one company to pull off a scam of such extent.
Some theories suggest that Jayalalitha has secretly helped Vaikundarajan dodge all the controversies surrounding VV Minerals. Political party AAP claims to have traced a financial link between the two. It should be noted that these allegations are coming just before the elections. Obviously, this seems like a plan to mislead voters. The party further alleged that Jayalalitha is involved in the illegal beach mining going on in Tamil Nadu. Connecting VV Minerals to this scam seems easy as the company has been operating in the state for over two decades. It is also known to be the largest producer and exporter of Garnet and Ilmenite.
The state government has set up an investigation team but no evidence has been found to deem the company guilty.
VV Minerals is the highest producer of Garnet and Ilmenite today. It has been awarded several national awards for its contribution to the export business.
Lately, VV Minerals reputation has suffered due to the illegal beach mining scam. Being the largest mining company in India, fingers are naturally pointed at VV Mineral. The company has taken legal advice against these allegations. While the investigation committee has been looking into the matter, no evidence has been submitted against the company.
Ashish Kumar, District Collector of Tuticorin was one of the first people to raise his concerns against the company. A raid on one of the company’s warehouse yielded no results. Following this, the distric collector was given the marching orders. However, VV Mineral Vaikundarajan was immediately blamed to have used his political influence in Kumar’s transfer.
VV Minerals’ spokesperson, speaking to NDTV, denied these allegations and claimed that the “charges made by the former District Collector are baseless, motivated and vague.”
VV Minerals has enjoyed 100% monopoly in mining activities and has a huge share in export of Garnet. Former IAS officer V Sundaram accused the company of looting several crore rupees in a letter written to the state. VV Mineral Vaikundarajan was quick to dismiss the allegation as a conspiracy by business rivals.
“Sundaram is passing this as a cruel joke. He is on the payroll of our business rival. Our hands are clean. We will soon be cleared of all allegations,” Ravindram Duraiswami, advocate for VV Mineral told NDTV.