New Delhi, Jan 15 (IANS) The Supreme Court on Wednesday allowed Sarda Mines Pvt Ltd (SMPL) to resume operations at its mine in Keonjhar district in Odisha after paying around Rs 933 crore to the state as environmental compensation.

A bench headed by Chief Justice S.A. Bobde granted a month’s time to the mining company to deposit the dues assessed by the Central Environment Committee (CEC), and also file an undertaking complying with rules and regulations for carrying out mining operations.

After the fulfilment of this condition, the mining company could resume its operations remaining in the lease period.

The mining company had submitted before the apex court that it has lost more than five-and-a-half years, and merely six months of its lease period was remaining. The Thakurani mines of SMPL used to supply high-quality iron ore to the Naveen Jindal-led Jindal Steel and Power Ltd (JSPL) plant.

Odisha government and the CEC had said that they had no objection if SMPL complied with all the mandatory rules and conditions to conduct mining operations.

In another matter filed by the Odhisha government against JSPL, in connection with transportation of iron ore worth Rs 2,000 crore, allegedly stacked at one corner of this company, the apex court asked the mining firm to furnish an undertaking by January 16 to clear its dues with the Odisha government.

The court clarified that it will allow JSPL to transport iron ore only if SMPL gave its undertaking to comply with the directions. The counsel for JSPL said the mine used to supply iron ore for nearly 15 years, but it has been closed for five years now.

The counsel told the court that the company took a loan of Rs 2,000 crore from the State Bank of India to purchase this order, but it cannot be transported due to a stay order. The bench has listed the matter for Thursday.




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