After a three-year struggle in the Paro dzongkhag court, the high court and having lost both cases, Chencho Gyelpo, 54, from Shaba, says he is still hoping to get justice for his mining company that was shut down.
The marble quarry operation at Hasilo, Nyephu, Paro leased for 10 years by the Department to C.G Industries Pvt. Ltd was terminated after the local community complained that the mine was located at the foot of a Nye and could adversely affect them.
Back in 2007, a lease agreement was drawn between the DGM and the promoter of C.G Industries Pvt. Ltd. After this he started constructing a farm road and opened offices in Paro and Phuentsholing.
Everything seemed to be going fine until the end of 2008, when residents staying near his mining site started to complain.
In 2009, his work was suspended and he appealed to the Paro court. The verdict after one and a half years did not favor Chencho Gyelpo.
“Not happy with the judgment, I appealed to the high court where again I had to wait for another one and half year for the verdict which was eventually against me.”
Citing documents, Chencho Gyelpo said that before starting the mine he sought clearance from the public residing within the area, the gewog, dzongkhag, forest office and the culture department.
“If they were to make all this hue and cry they should not have given me the permission to operate the project. All I want now is compensation,” he said.
Chencho Gyelpo operated the mine for only three years before it was given the termination order. He said there have been similar complaints against other mines but the DGM always sorted it out.
“Most of the mining companies are owned by rich people. But I am a common man, this is unjust,” he said adding that now he will have to approach the Anti Corruption Commission.
Chencho Gyelpo said that for him the main injustice was that after getting all legal clearances and investing around Nu 10 mn in developing the mine it was only now that his mine was cancelled.
“I had actually received even the local clearance in addition to all the legal clearances,” said Chencho.
He said that only a ‘few’ locals had been incited by the Hebu Gompa Trulku and his family to object to the mine.
“Many worse mines owned by the rich and powerful get more serious complaints but they are only asked to do rectification works. In my case I was not even given a chance and my mine was shut down due to local politics,” said Chencho.
He said he would have never invested so much money if he had not been given all the legal permissions to develop the mine.
Chencho Dema / Thimphu