New Delhi: Odisha government on Wednesday moved the Supreme Court against an order that allowed Jindal Steel and Power Ltd (JSPL) to lift iron ore from Thakurani mine of its long-term supplier, Sarda Mines Pvt. Ltd.
JSPL has been sourcing iron ore from Sarda Mines for its Barbil and Raigarh factories. The mine is currently non-operational for requirement of clearances.
A bench headed by Justice Dipak Misra sought details of the contract between Sarda Mines and JSPL regarding iron ore sharing and asked the Odisha government to produce relevant files in court.
The Odisha government had challenged an order passed by the Odisha high court giving JSPL access to 12 million tonne of iron ore from Sarda Mines. They claimed that this could not be allowed without an environmental clearance under the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957.
Advocate Prashant Bhushan, whose NGO, Common Cause had initiated several of these cases against the mining companies and government, contended that when the Odisha high court was hearing the case, it was not brought to its notice that the apex court was also hearing cases related to mining in Odisha.
The iron ore in question was extracted when the mine was operating, but when apex court restrained 102 mining leaseholders from carrying on any operations in Odisha in May, it also banned all mining related activities.
The apex court is currently hearing a batch of cases dealing with illegal mining in Odisha and is also overseeing the process of reopening of the mines it had closed down in 2014.