Shri Milind Balavat Nijsure
At post Velas, Tal. mandangad, Dist. Ratnagiri
Shri. Madhavrao Gadgil
President, Western Ghat Panel
Sub: Facts of Velas-Sakhari Bauxite mine site Tal. Mandangad Dist. Ratnagiri.
Useful Land for Horticulture or Barren land.
Please refer to part of Mining Plan approved by Indian Bureau of Mines, Madgaon, Goa for Velas-Sakhari Bauxite. Mine. (Enclosed & marked Set1_01 - Set1_17 refer folder 01_Velas_Sakhri)
Please refer to 12.1.2.Existing land use pattern (Pg. 22) and 12.2.1.Land environment, iii Agriculture and V vegetation (pg. 25,26) which reproduce below for the case of reference.
12.1.2. Existing Land use Pattern: The lease area is in mound shape and top of the deposit is in the form of plateau. The lease area is mostly covered with late rite copping. About 8.10 HA is covered by pits and 1.09 deposit is the flat ground and surrounding area is having jungle growth and Mango Farms, Cashew, casuarinas plantation and Marshy areas (pg. 22,23)
12.2.1. (ii) The lease area is private land with elevated ground and is in mound shape without much vegetation.( pg. 25)
12.2.1.V The lease area at present is having thin vegetation and the land is mostly barren. There are shrubs and bus has that is sparsely located in area that is the vegetation. (pg. 26)
Please also see pg 2 of EIA report in which it states that " The entire lease area is a private waste Land " while 12.1.2 of mining Plan states that the deposit is in flat ground and surrounding area s having jungle growth and Mango Farms, Cashew, casuarinas plantation and Marshy areas. (Enclosed & marked Set2_01 - Set2_02 refer folder 01_Velas_Sakhri)
In 12.2.1 (iii) of Mining Plan (pg. 26) states "A present there is no agriculture activities in the proposed area except patches of Mango grove.
In 12.2.1.V (pg 26) states "The lease area at present is having thin vegetation and the land is mostly barren.
Thus it would be seen that it is contended that entire lease area is waste land and surrounding area is having jungle growth. However it is also accepted that in patches there is Mango Cashew, casuarinas plantation.
Please find given below is a table showing survey NOs. Area in HA, No of Mango/cashew trees and remark in respect of land under Mining Lease as per Mine Plan approved by Indian Bureau of Mines(pg. 3)
Area in HA
Received subsidy from Govt. under EGS Fruit Plantation Programme. Rs. 106506/-
Mango plantation 5 HA, Total 900 Mango trees.
Mango plantation 77 guntha.
Mango plantation 1 HA/13 guntha,
Mango plantation 1 HA, 51.5 gunthas.
Cashew plantation in 21 gunthas
Above table is indicative. (Enclosed above in folder Saat-Baara)
From the said table it would be seen that no. of Mango, casuarinas and cashew trees recorded in 7/12 from the Land Records for which subsidy was received by the owner of land. Also other land owners planted trees at their own expense and also does not cover trees other than Mango, casuarinas and cashew which may be there as natural forest. This proves "The entire lease area is waste land" is a false statement used only to obtain/renew mining lease. This aspect had neither been verified from records nor brought out after visit to the site by IBM or MPCB officers apart from RQP-Recognized qualified person enlisted / empanelled by IBM.
The whole chain of officers of IBM who had approved original and Modified Mining plan is liable for extreme punishment for derelictions of duty and also corrupts practices. RQP's who prepared these plans are also guilty of the offences as the officer of IBM and Maharashtra Pollution Control Board officers cannot escape the charge.
In 12.2.1.(iii) of modified mining plan referred above says that "due to late rite capping in the area, there is much less scope of agricultural activities in proposed area."
Everybody in the region knows that late rite- locally called "JAMBHA" is very useful for improving taste and quality of Mango. Plantation of Mango and cashew on above survey NOs. of Sakhari village still bear testimony to see and confirm.
It may be seen from table given under 12.2.1.(ii) (pg. 26) that 26.57 HA shall be degraded by mining while only 8.1 HA i.e. around up to 30% of degraded land shall be developed as green belt.
Ways and means should be found to punish all those who are responsible for this degradation of land and consequential harm to local ecology, as well as opportunity of earning lively-hood to all future generations who could support themselves in the region.
All adjacent ranges are green from top to bottom was observed by yourself during your visit on 04.10.2010.
Safety of Mines and other
Please find enclosed herewith copy of Inspection Report of Director of Mine Safety, Goa Region, (Enclosed & marked Set3_01 - Set3_04 refer folder 01_Velas_Sakhri)
and the report of the committee appointed by Maharashtra Pollution control Board.
(Enclosed & marked Set4_01 - Set4_10 refer folder 01_Velas_Sakhri)
Major violations as pointed by DMS in his inspection report are as follows.
Use of Heavy Earth Moving Machinery without permission. This is also in violation of Approved Mining Plan by IBM. It means explosive use in blast may be 50 times or more than planned.
Grossly inadequate staff to look after safely.
Poor record keeping. Only 100 out of 250+ workmen on roll in form Band D. That means if a workman whose name is not in form B meets with an accident company can escape legal liability.
Mine workers hutments were existing within 50 meter of working pit. These hutments to be shifted at least 500 meters from working pit. i.e. beyond danger zone.
Explosive magazine dually approved by licensing authority under the Indian explosive Act 1884 was mot maintained.
Now please read 5 above in conjunction with second point on pg. 5 of the Expert Committee Report. (Enclosed & marked Set4_01 - Set4_10 refer folder 01_Velas_Sakhri) It reads and I quote: "It was mentioned by the company officials that blasting is generally carried out during the lunch break when most of the workers are away from the blast zone. The company does not have the permission from the explosive department for carrying out blasting. It is reported that the blasting is undertaken with the help of the the approved explosive permit holder based in chiplun. They were not able to show neither the records of blasting undertaken in the past nor the details of the charge being used for the blasting."
Therefore f any explosive is smuggled out from this location to Naxalites or Terrorists there would be no knowing of it as there is no record and control.
Explosive being a sensitive subject, more so for this coastal area, it is unpardonable callousness on the part of State administration, risking the lives of unrelated citizens anywhere in the state.
The Report of expert committee appointed by MPCB speaks volumes. This may kindly be read once more to digest what the committee observed and recommended. In nutshell it tells us the attitude of M/S Ashapura...... that says "To hell with MPCB and its recommendations we can manage without them" In spite of this MPCB is not acting against the company - this needs investigation.
System Improvements :
Public hearing of which video recording is available with MPCB, a CD/DVD should be made available to Gram Panchayats in which the project is located within 3 days of such hearing.
Reports of Public hearing from Regional Office of MPCB o HQ MPCB or from Dist. collector to state govt. as well as reports from HQ MPCB/state govt. to MOEF/ Central Govt. should be endorsed to Gram Panchayat along with translated copy in regional language as the case may be.
Above modifications have been suggested because it has been observed that some of the major points raised do not find place in the report as those may be inconvenient to administration or project operator.
While granting clearance MOEF must deal with every objection raised during Public hearing and give a speaking judgment for its rejection.
A copy of MOEF clearance in English as well as its translation in regional language as the case may be put in Gram Panchayat in which the project is located.
It is also observed that there is practically no co-ordination between various inspecting agencies and Dist. administration i.e. collector, Dist. Mining officer of Ratnagiri inspected Velas- Sakhari Bauxite mine site and reported no violations of mines act while DGMS had pointed out serious violations.(Enclosed & marked Set3_01 - Set3_04 refer folder 01_Velas_Sakhri)
When we informed MPCB that the Mine is operating with MPCB renewals beyond Nov. 2009, they say "we have informed Dist. Collector and he has to take action." we are unable to find a solutions to this inactivity, hence all adverse comments against a mine or plant operator should be passed on to Dist. collector in case of mines and similar appropriate authority in case of factories/plants so that such authority cannot plead ignorance about such violations.
The Offices of DGMS, Labour Commissioner, E.P.F. Commissioner, Under labour Ministry, I.B.M. under Ministry of Mines and Factory inspectorate under State Govt. as well as central Govt. needs to be informed of this procedure.
(Milind B. Nijsure)