Second hearing on Gidawom mining case

Judiciary: The High Court held the second hearing of the case concerning the four mining companies versus the Gidawom communities on June 13.

One of the villagers, Pem Namgyel said that the companies are trying to buy time by appealing to the High Court.

“While the case is being decided in court, the situation is worsening on the ground with more intensive blasting,” Pem Namgyel said.

He added that villagers are having trouble with finding space on which to allow their cattle to graze on as most of the areas above their village are leased to the companies.

Pem Namgyel said that therefore the court should issue an injunction to stop all activities at the mines until the case is over.

Two of the geology and mines department officials involved in the case have resigned, the representative of the villagers said.

The companies’ attorney Ugyen Dorji had appealed against the trial court’s verdict in March this year. He submitted in his appeal letter that the verdict was based on the evidences and submissions from the villagers and didn’t consider the submissions of his clients.

The 29 villagers from Gidawom village under Mewang gewog in Thimphu took the mining companies to court over the adverse impacts on their community, health, water, and properties. They were handed a judgment in their favour.

The dzongkhag court asked RSA Private Limited, Taktshang, and Riverview to compensate the eight houses in Gidawom. The companies were asked to pay the households Nu 745,530 based on calculations by the works and human settlements ministry’s estimates.

The defendants highlighted a new point to their argument by pointing out that the blasting is causing cracks on their homes.

The defence attorney said that Singye Company mines are closer to the communities and yet the villagers said that blasting there does not affect them.

“Then how can blasting done farther from that site affect them,” Ugyen Dorji said responding to the villagers’ rebuttal yesterday.

The companies’ attorney will present his rebuttal on June 23.

Tshering Palden

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