THE SUPREME Court on Thursday cleared the construction of Tata Steel’s Rs 15,400-crore steel project in Orissa. A bench headed by Justice G. P. Mathur rejected a plea filed by the Kalinga Power Corporation Ltd (KPCL) against the Orissa government's decision to allot land to the steel major.
The court in an interim order in October 2005 had already allowed Tata Steel to begin its 6 million tonne steel project, pending a final order on KPCL’s petition. In 1994, the Orissa government had allotted 1,000 acres of land to the KPCL to set up a 500 MW power project at Kalinga Nagar Industrial complex at Dubri. But the allotment was cancelled in December 2004.
The KPCL challenged the cancellation in the Orissa High Court, saying the government’s contention that it was unable to free the land from villagers was false.However, the Orissa Industrial Infrastructure Development Corporation argued that the KPCL had failed to pay for the land, and Tata Steel was allotted the same land after it paid the entire cost.The high court had dismissed the KPCL’s petition.