NMDC to continue with iron ore dual pricing in Karnataka: SC

New Delhi, Sep 1 (IANS) The Supreme Court on Thursday said the National Mineral Development Corporation (NMDC) can continue with its dual pricing policy for sale of iron ore in Karnataka.

A bench of Justice Ranjan Gogoi, Justice Prafulla C. Pant and Justice A.M. Khanwilkar rejected the plea by the Karnataka Iron and Steel Manufacturers Association (KISMA) calling for iron ore prices to be decided by an apex court-appointed monitoring committee.

KISMA contended that the NMDC used to have identical pricing in Karnataka and Chhattisgarh before taking advantage of “acute shortage” of iron ore and resorting to differential pricing policy.

KISMA sought to restrain the NMDC from adopting differential pricing mechanism for iron ore sold in e-auction in Karnataka.

The bench accepted NMDC’s stand that sale price of iron ore in Karnataka is governed by market conditions and allowed the corporation to continue with differential pricing.

The public sector undertaking had also told the court that “despite the price being higher in Karnataka than in Chhattisgarh, the cost of landing in Karnataka is lower than in Chhattisgarh.”

Under dual pricing, NMDC sells iron ore at different prices in different states.

While allowing dual pricing policy, the court declined a plea by Vedanta Ltd to export the iron ore that it cannot sell in Goa and Karnataka.

Observing that the inability of Vedanta Ltd to sell its iron ore from its mines in the state could be due to its pricing pattern and “inability to sell on account of higher prices cannot be a ground for export of the mineral, at least at this stage of development.”



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