HC upholds government stand on ore distribution

Orissa High Court on Wednesday upheld the State government’s circular of December 2012 in which the government had asked the mine owners in the State to supply half of their mine lumps to local standalone units.

Petitions dismissed

Dismissing a batch of petitions, including that of the petition of Federation of Indian Mining Industries (FIMI), a Division Bench of Chief Justice A. K. Goel and Justice A. K. Rath observed that the step taken by the State government is valid as a right of pre-emption.

The State government on December 5, 2012, had come out with a circular asking the mine owners to allocate 50 per cent of their produce to the units without captive powers as an attempt to regulate the mining activities in the State.

The circular issued by the Director of Mines had authorised the competent mining officials to monitor and implement the directive with immediate effect.

However, terming the directive “restrictive”, FIMI - the apex mining industry body of the country challenged it before the Central government.

Entertaining the FIMI plea, the Central government in February 2013 had asked the State government to withdraw the December 2012 directive.

When the State government did not pay heed to the Central government’s instruction, the FIMI and a few other mine owners approached the Orissa High Court seeking judicial intervention.