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SC notice to Posco, others

The Supreme Court on Monday ordered status quo on a petition challenging Orissa government’s recommendation to the Centre to grant prospective mining licences to South Korean steel major Posco. HT reports. Complaining times

business Updated: Dec 07, 2010 00:22 IST
HT Correspondent

The Supreme Court (SC) on Monday ordered status quo on a petition challenging Orissa government’s recommendation to the Centre to grant prospective mining licences to South Korean steel major Posco.

A bench headed by Justice R V Raveendran issued notice to the Centre, Orissa government and Posco on Geomin Minerals and Marketing Ltd petition challenging the Orissa High Court order that quashed the state’s notification for grant of prospective mining lease in over 2,500 hectares in the Khandadhar hills in Sundergarh district in Orissa.

The State has already appealed against the High Court (HC) order that had on July 14 set aside the government’s 1961 notification that gave priority to certain companies for grant of mining lease.

The state government has already challenged the HC order claiming it has been following this procedure for almost four decades.

Geomin, however, moved to SC stating there is no procedure laid down by the state to grant such lease. The company claimed the government should either allot the licence on first come first serve basis or adopt a lottery system. The HC order came on Geomin’s petition contending it had applied for the licence for Khandadhar iron ore mines much before Posco. Yet, the government granted the licence to Posco.

Geomin had challenged the state government’s January 2009 recommendation to the Centre for grant of prospective licence for Khandadhar iron ore reserves. Instead of giving relief to the petitioner, the HC quashed the 1961 government notification on issuance of mining lease.