STATES

Orissa HC sets aside Rs 2,045 crore demand notice to Sarda Mines

By Express News Service

CUTTACK: The Orissa High Court has given a March 7 deadline to the state authorities for fresh consideration on the demand notice directing Sarda Mines Private Limited (SMPL) to pay a sum of Rs 2,045.51 crore as compensation for excess production of iron ore.

The court set the deadline while setting aside the demand notice that the Joint Director of Mines, Joda mining circle, had issued in connection with the production of iron ore from leasehold area at Thakurani iron ore mines in Keonjhar district on February 8, 2021. Challenging the demand notice, SMPL had filed a petition on February 22, 2021.

The court felt that the demand notice was issued without giving SMPL a hearing. Disposing off the petition, the division bench of Chief Justice S Muralidhar and Justice BP Routray said that the impugned demand notice is hereby set aside. SMPL will be heard afresh on the issue of alleged excess production beyond the permissible limit, on a date to be communicated to it one week in advance, within a period of four weeks from January 10.

“All the rights and contentions of the parties vis-a-vis the issue of excess production is kept open to be urged before the authorities”, the bench added in its order on Monday. It further specified that a reasoned order will be passed thereon not later than March 7, 2022, and communicated to SMPL not later than March 11, 2022. 

If the order is adverse to SMPL, no coercive action shall be taken against it till March 21, 2022. Till that date, the interim arrangement put in place by this court in its order dated November 3, 2021, will continue, the bench also specified.

The interim arrangement allowed the mined stock, which the petitioner was seeking to remove, to be kept separately within the leasehold area as an interim arrangement during the pendency of the writ petition.

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