Delhi HC Stays E-Auction Of 2 Iron Ore Blocks In Odisha

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court has barred the Odisha government from proceeding with the e-auction of Chandiposhi and Purheibahal iron ore blocks in Sundargarh district, scheduled for May 5 and 8.

The reason: One of the bidders for the e-auctions was found ineligible under the prevailing rules that bars a company to bid for electronic auctions of a mineral block if it already possesses more than 10 sq km of mineral lease area.

As many as 17 companies had evinced interest.

In its order, the court also observed that the tender documents for the two new iron ore blocks were ambiguous and lacked clarity on whether a bidder who is per se ineligible under the provisions of the 1957 Act can nevertheless proceed to participate in the final e-auctions.

“Also, it is unclear as to whether indeed the State of Odisha’s request for extension of the mining area made through application dated March 13, 2018, would be accepted,” the order read.

In the given circumstances, proceeding with e-auctions can lead to confusion on the eligibility of some bidders with respect to the provisions in Section 6 (1) (b) of the 1957 Act, it further noted.

The court also directed the central government to decide the fate of the Odisha government’s pending application in consultation with the latter, within 15 days of its order.

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