Supreme Court Allows OMDC To Dispose Of Iron Ore From Odisha Mines

Bhubaneswar: The Supreme Court on Thursday allowed Orissa Minerals Development Company Ltd (OMDC) to dispose of undisposed iron ore from the mines in Odisha.

Considering the applications filed by the OMDC, a Bench comprising Chief Justice NV Ramana, Justice Krishna Murari and Justice Hima Kohli of the Supreme Court granted permission to dispose of the undisposed mined material at Belkundi iron ore mine and Bagaiburu mine. The applications were filed in a 2014 PIL moved by the NGO Common Cause.

Appearing for the petitioner, advocate Prashant Bhushan submitted that several applications have been filed by private companies and state corporations seeking permission to sell materials lying on the site and the court may direct to examine if the materials were mined legally or not.

When the Bench pointed out that the company being referred to is a government company, Bhushan said even government companies were fined heavily for conducting illegal mining. Solicitor General Tushar Mehta clarified that the compensation was paid in respect of mining which was treated as unauthorised.

“The reason why mining was stopped and orders were passed was because mining was carried out in violation of laws and without environmental clearance”, LiveLaw quoted Bhushan as saying.

“We have allowed private parties, doesn’t look nice to stop government organisations. At least here, the money will come to government”, the CJI said. Bhushan agreed and submitted that court may allow the government companies to dispose the material.

The Bench allowed OMDC’s application after considering the submissions made by Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, who submitted that court had earlier permitted the resumption of mining by the company and the state has no objection to the same.

It may be noted that the Supreme Court had in 2014 suspended the mining operations in Odisha in the present PIL. The development had come after the court passed orders in illegal mining operations in Karnataka and Goa.

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