Following an appeal preferred by the Kolkata Port Trust in its legal battle with its erstwhile contractor, Haldia Bulk Terminals, a Division Bench of the Calcutta High Court on Thursday stayed the operation of the order passed by a Singh Bench last week in favour of HBT upholding its claim on removal of equipment from the Haldia dock.

A Press release issued by KoPT said that it was satisfied with Thursday’s order.

The release also noted that in its order on March 22 in the matter of dispute related to termination of agreement by the contractor, the Single Bench had allowed HBT “unfettered use of the equipment … after removal from the port premises besides imposing a Rs.4 lakh fine on KoPT.”

The Calcutta High Court had upheld HBT’s claim to its equipment lying idle at the Haldia Dock Complex, saying that they could remove it subject to any Customs claim. HBT presently has equipment worth over Rs.140 crore at the two berths of the Haldia Dock Complex of KoPT.

HBT had then said in a statement that it was pleased with the order for upholding its stance that KoPT has no right over HBT’s equipment on which HBT has sole rights. It had also hoped that the equipment removal will be uneventful.

HBT had on October 31, 2012, announced its decision to “walk out from HDC with immediate effect” saying that the “ever-worsening situation at Haldia” had left them feeling betrayed.

KoPT acting chairman Manish Jain had later said that HBT will not be allowed to withdraw its equipment as it does not have the right to terminate its contract in this manner. The agreement, signed in 2009 following a global tender, gives only KoPT the right to cancel the 10-year contract, he said.