Illegal mining: Goan firm operates on Pakistani’s power of attorney: CEC tells SC

The brazen illegal mining with “tacit” approval of the Goa government touched a new high when the Supreme Court’s environment panel said that a Pakistani had been for decades executing power of attorney from Karachi to a Goan partnership firm for mining of iron ore in serious breach of law.

The CEC ( Central Empowered Committee) in its report to SC on Friday said, “It is seen that the mining lease was granted in the name of an individual who had migrated to Pakistan and died there. He was never involved in operating the mining lease or seeking renewal of it.

The lease has been allowed to be operated illegally by a partnership firm comprising Timblo Pvt Ltd, Ms Radha S Timblo and others.

The mining lease has been renewed by the Goa government in favour of the partnership firm owned and controlled by Timblo family by disregarding and in blatant violation of Rule 37 of Mineral Concession Rules, 1960.”

The CEC pointed out that the renewal of mining lease was allowed “on the basis of an unregistered power of attorney, stated to have been executed by the lessee while staying in Pakistan and whose genuineness and validity was highly dubious and doubtful”.

“Even though all facts in the matter were available with the state government, it chose to ignore them and the lease granted in favour of an individual was illegally allowed to be converted into a partnership firm owned by Timblo family,” the CEC said.

Amicus curiae A D N Rao informed the court that the CEC found many more such cases of grant of mining lease in violation of Mineral Concession Rules.

On the Timblo family-owned partnership firm, the environment panel said the original lease was granted to one Badrudin Bavani and the first renewal of the lease was allowed in the name of a firm ‘Badrudin Hussain Bhai Mavani’, who neither has any financial stake nor any control in the said firm controlled by the Timblo family.

“The state of Goa was fully aware of the serious illegalities involved. However, instead of taking punitive action in accordance with the law, it disregarded the serious illegalities and chose to grant renewal of the mining lease in favour of the partnership firm owned and under control of Timblo family, which should not have been permitted,” it said.

“The ownership and control of the said lease by the Timblo family (through the partnership firm) was justified by them by producing before the state government another power of attorney dated November 5, 1997 stated to have been executed by Mavani in favour of Ms Radha S Timblo. In the said power of attorney, it is mentioned that Mavani is staying in Karachi, Pakistan. This document is not registered, not notarized or signed in presence of witnesses,” it said.

The special secretary (development) found that the signature of Mavani in the power of attorney executed in 1979 did not tally with the 1997 document. It is mandatory for general power of attorney (GPA) signed abroad and received in India to be routed through the district magistrate or verified by the Indian embassy/consulate, neither of which was done in this case, the CEC found.

In another deed of partnership dated March 27, 2002, Abdul Sultan Mavani (son of the original lease holder) was included as partner in place of his father though the death of the earlier lease holder was no where mentioned in the partnership deed.

By another reconstitution of partnership deed on April 7, 2005, Abdul Sultan Mavani was stated to have retired from the partnership, the CEC said.

Courtesy : ET

Disqualify those convicted under law banning the practice of superstition

Through a private members bill introduced today in the Rajya Sabha today, Shantaram Naik M P has sought disqualification of those who are convicted under a law which provides for banning the practice or encouraging or inducing others to practice or propagate superstitious beliefs.

In statement of objects and reasons attached to the bill,  Naik says, superstitious beliefs are prevailing in the country for the last several centuries. These beliefs have taken strong roots in the society and have done irreparable harm to it, particularly to the weaker sections. It was expected that as time passes, scientific temper in the minds of the people will increase and, people may refrain from resorting to unpleasant and crude methods to achieve their social and other objectives. Literacy is increasing among the people but, disbelief in superstitious beliefs have not diminished in the same proportion, Mr Naik further states in his statement attached to the bill

Literate people too, are found to be indulging in superstitious beliefs in quite an astonishing proportion. It is unfortunate that several political leaders, in some form or the other practice superstitious.

Although, religious practices or rituals stand on different footings, practicing of superstitions in the name of religion is dangerous. Well to do politicians or other in the business community or in the rich farming class, yet times may loose a few thousand rupees, but the poor, who practice superstitious in the name of religion suffer immensely.

Section 8 of the Representation of Peoples Act 1951 seeks to disqualify persons convicted under certain legislations which are mentioned in the section. Mr Naik has sought an amendment to the section 8 to say that those who get convicted under any law which provides for banning the practice or encouraging or inducing others to practice or propagate superstitious beliefs should also be disqualified from contesting elections.

Goa Mining: SC panel recommends mining ban in Goa

A Supreme Court-appointed panel Friday recommended 42 mining leases granted within wildlife sanctuaries or located within one km of the boundaries of national parks and sanctuaries in Goa be revoked and clearances of others be reconsidered.

The Central Empowered Committee (CEC) also recommended that 120 mining leases granted within 10 kms of national parks and sanctuaries and cleared by the central environment and forest ministry be sent to the standing committee of the National Board for Wildlife (NBWL) for its consideration. This would also include other similarly located mines. Besides, the CEC has recommended that the additional principal chief conservator of forests (southern region) inquire whether mining operations would not have adverse impact on the flora, fauna or wildlife habitat, distances of the national parks/sanctuaries from the mining leases and whether the status of the forest areas have been correctly stated in the applications for environmental clearances.

“The court may consider taking a decision regarding validity of such environmental clearances after considering the recommendations of the standing committee of the NBWL, the report of the additional principal chief conservator of forests and other information /details. Till then such environmental clearances may be directed to be held in abeyance,” the CEC said.

The CEC also told the apex court forest bench of Justice Aftab Alam, Justice K.S. Radhakrishnan and Justice Swatanter Kumar that it would later file its recommendations on the punitive action against the erring officials, other public functionaries and others and the compensation payable by the defaulting lease holders and others. Besides this, CEC would make recommendations for the cancellation of the mining leases which are found to be involved in substantial illegal mining and other serious illegalities and other issues which have not been adequately dealt in its report.

Of the 16 recommendation, the CEC has urged the court ask the Dehradun-based Indian Council for Forestry Research and Education (ICFRE) to carry out macro-level EIA studies about the impact of mining in Goa and suggest Taluka-wise ceiling on production from all the mining leases. The mining operation, the CEC said, could be allowed by the mining leases holders not involved in any illegalities only after the ICFRE’s study which would involve ceiling on permissible annual production, survey, demarcation of the mining leases and the putting in place the plan for the reclamation and rehabilitation of devastated mines.

The resumption of mining operations by the mining leases holders involved in illegalities and working beyond the sanctioned mining lease boundaries may not be permitted till a decision regarding compensation payable by them was taken and compiled with, it said. The court will take up for hearing the CEC report when it meets after the winter break in January.

Courtesy: twocircles

Goa university to track Indian migration patterns

Out migration patterns of Indians in general and Goans in particular will now be tracked and studied with the Goa University establishing a chair for diaspora studies for the forthcoming academic year. According to Rajeev Verma, secretary to Goa Governor B.V. Wanchoo, a Rs.2 million grant has already been allocated and has been accorded approval of the University Grants Commission (UGC).

Speaking to reporters here Friday, former commissioner for Goa’s Non-resident India (NRI) cell Eduadro Faleiro, said: “It would deal with issues concerning the Indian diaspora in general and the Goan diaspora in particular along with the study of migration in other countries. It will explore the relationship that the Diaspora people have with their homeland.”

The former minister of state for external affairs said that this was the first such chair in the country which had been specifically set up to study migration and that it would throw light on consistent migration of Goans to other parts of the country as well as the world.

“The study of migration is one of the most fascinating areas of academic research and it is particularly relevant to Goa since over the centuries a significant number of our people have migrated to other parts of India and abroad for various reasons,” said Faleiro, who had been pursuing the matter of the chair with the union human resource development (HRD) ministry. “It will also undertake research studies pertaining to migration of Goans to the neighbouring areas of north Karnataka and south Maharashtra in the 16th and 17th century due to religious, cultural and economic reasons,” he added.

In the recent past, Goa has seen out-migration to Britain, Africa and especially to the Gulf countries and with a huge non resident population, was the second state in India after Kerala, to conduct a scientific study on migration.

Courtesy: ummid

Drugs and phones found in Goa prison

Drugs, chillums, mobile phones, fancy razors, exotic condoms… No it’s not the flea market we are talking about. Its the Aguada Central Jail.

Welcome to the standard fare in Goa’s oldest and most secure prison. The revelation at the Aguada Central Jail came when a serial killer, Mahanand Naik, 45, who was originally imprisoned for murdering more than a dozen women but has been acquitted in six cases, was accused of harassing a woman he had tried to rape two years before his arrest by text messaging and phoning her. “This amount to harassment of the victim, that is why we filed the complaint,” said Auda Viegas, the convener of Bailancho Ekvott, the women’s rights NGO that brought the incident to the attention of the police.

The victim’s deposition is key because Mahanand has already been acquitted in six of the murder cases, has appealed against the life sentence in one case and is being tried in the other five cases, as well as the rape case.

Viegas said that Mahanand, who is already married, told the victim that he would marry her when he was out of prison. Jail Superintendent Gopal Parsenkar said that the prison authorities were examining the charges made in the Bailancho Ekvott complaint. “It is an official matter,” he said. “I cannot say anything. But we are looking into the complaint.”

Although a probe has been ordered by the police and prison authorities, the incident once again brings into focus the smuggling of contraband in the prison. An official said that articles discovered in raids include a makeshift chillum, knives, erotic decks of playing cards, cigarettes, drugs, condoms and mobile sim cards.

In 2010, the Inspector General of Prisons (IGP) launched an investigation after David Driham, alias Dudu, who had been arrested on a drug peddling charge, had been found updating a Facebook account from the jail. Driham has since been released.

Courtesy: gulfnews