Delhi High Court today sought the Centre’s response on a plea by Bhushan Power and Steel Ltd (BPSL) challenging the government’s decision to auction a coal mine in Odisha for multiple end-uses like steel, cement and captive power plants.
A bench of justices Badar Durrez Ahmed and Sanjeev Sachdeva issued notice to the Coal Ministry and sought its reply by August 5 on BPSL’s plea that the Jhamkhani mine in Odisha be auctioned only for manufacture of steel.
The bench had in April this year reserved its verdict on similar pleas by Utkal Coal Ltd, Monnet Ispat and Energy Ltd and Jayaswal Neco Industries Ltd (JNIL) which had challenged the government’s decision to club all sectors, barring power, under a single category for coal block auctions.
Jhamkhani coal block was earlier put up in the first round of coal auctions. However, it was taken off the table afterBhushan Steel challenged the government’s decision to earmark the mine for multiple end-uses.
Now the block has again be put up for auction and the last date of submission of bids for it is July 21, senior advocate Rajiv Nayar told the court. He also submitted that the mine’s auction would be over by August 11.
Meanwhile, central government Standing Counsel (CGSC) Amit Mahajan told the court that Bhushan Steel has not been disqualified from bidding and therefore, there was no need for any interim orders.