Goa's Spirited Online Weekly Magazine.

Lion Roars – 31

November 25-December 1, 2013

Slaughter mining makes them rich

In the previous columns I wrote how the BJPs’ legislators Nilesh Cabral, elected from the Curchorem constituency, Sanguem’s Subhash Phaldessai, Sanvordem’s Ganesh Gaonkar and Sanquelim’s Pramod Sawant all became millionaires taking inequitable advantage of mining iron ore which resulted in the Supreme Court being forced to shut it down pending the ongoing review.  This week I begin a new series on ‘mining people’ – the purpose being to show the nexus between politicians and businessman which is why not a day goes past without Goa’s print media regurgitating what the political-business nexus keeps saying for their personal benefit.  In fact it is personal benefit that drew my attention to an exhaustive list of 804 rich people who bought vehicles of all kinds (including commercial vehicles)  costing about Rs 25,00,000  between 2010-2013, and many of them have made their millions from what has come to be known as the illegal and slaughter mining in India.

One member of this elite list is Soumit Ranjan Jena who lives in Margao who bought a Toyota Land Cruiser 200 VX costing Rs. 86,53,750 during this period.  He paid tax of Rs. 5,19,225 on the purchase which is the kind of money the aam aadmi pays to buy a car!  Jena owns Pisces Exim Products & Services which claims to be in mining, chartering and logistics (Mumbai), steel manufacturing (Kandla and Kutch, Gujarat) and trading.

Jena acquired iron ore mines in Goa, Indonesia and possibly in Malaysia and is reportedly a relative of the Union Minister for Chemicals and Fertilisers Srikant Jena.  He is also reportedly very close to several of Goa’s mining politicians (both BJP and Congress) and regularly handles their cargo.  In fact, it is no surprise that Jena, an IIT New Delhi graduate, and earlier one of the largest suppliers of hardware and software to the Central Government and State Governments, got into the mining business in 2005-06 after establishing Jena Enterprises at Margao.

In 2006, the Special vigilance judge of Patna, Ramnivas Prasad issued a request letter to the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate of Delhi to record his statement on oath under section 164 of the Criminal Procedure Code (Cr PC) after it was decided that a statement he gave to the Delhi police was enough evidence on the complicity of RJD MP Aniruddh Prasad Yadav in the multi-crore flood relief scam in Bihar.  While Yadav was being interrogated in the flood scam, he claimed to have bought a luxury car (!) from Jena, which Jena denied.  He was arrested by the Delhi police in Goa then.

As union minister, Srikant Jena (from Balasore, Odisha) did nothing to prevent illegal mining in next door Keonjhar.  As minister of state for industry in 1979-1980 in the then Janata Dal-led government and later as a union minister of state for small-scale, agro and rural industries during April-November, 1990, again representing the Janata Dal; he did nothing too.  The story of illegal mining in Odisha is the same as Goa:  Miners encroach on land outside the leased area, destroy forests and the environment and understate production and profit.

All it takes to operate illegal mines is to keep bribing Sarpanchas, the forest department, mines inspectors; and when the going is bad, like it is for them currently, get the print media to tell the world on a daily basis that it is the aam aadmi that are the worst sufferers.  Most importantly, contribute lavishly to both the BJP and the Congress party.  This is a list of contributors from Goa’s mining industry to the BJP for the financial year 2011-12 in the order that is given in its own website.

V.M. Salgaoncar & Bro. Pvt. Ltd. Rs. 32,00,000   
V.M. Salgaoncar & Bro. Pvt. Ltd. Rs. 32,00,000
Rajaram Bandekar & Co. Rs. 25,00,000
V.S. Dempo Holdings Pvt. Ltd Rs. 25,00,000
Timbo Pvt. Ltd. Rs. 25,00,000
Sesa Goa Ltd. Rs. 25,00,000
Dilip Timblo Rs. 25,00,000
Chowgule Charitable Trust Rs. 20,00,000
Damodar Mangalji & Co. Ltd. Rs. 20,00,000
Panduranga Timblo Industries Rs. 20,00,000
V.M. Salgaoncar & Bro. Pvt. Ltd. 18,00,000
V.M. Salgaoncar & Bro. Pvt. Ltd. Rs. 18,00,000
Sesa Goa Ltd. Rs. 15,00,000
Panduranga Timblo Industries Rs. 10,00,000

(To be continued)