Free Press Journal

HC seeks govt response on Sarda plea for time to remove coal


Coal Scam

New Delhi: Delhi High Court today sought government’s response on Sarda Energy and Minerals Ltd’s plea challenging a notification directing the company to remove by April 8 all its coal stock from a mine in Chhattisgarh earlier alloted to it. Justice Rajiv Shakdher issued notice to the Coal Ministry as well as Monnet Ispat and Energy Ltd, the new allotee of the mine, seeking their responses by tomorrow on the plea of Sarda which has sought three months time to dispose of over six lakh metric tonne of coal that has been accumulated in the mining area post-extraction.

The court asked Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Sanjay Jain to take instructions and inform it whether some more time can be given to Sarda to dispose of the accumulated stock or, in the alternative, whether the company can be included in the process of its sale.

The court was of the view that since it was an “exceptional case” in which such amount of stock has been left unconsumed, maybe two to four weeks can be given to Sarda to sell or remove the mineral. It also asked Sarda why it did not speed up the disposal of the accumulated stock when it was aware in September 2014 that by March 31 this year it has to remove it.

ASG Jain contended there was no reason for accumulation of such quantity of coal as whatever amount of the mineral was extracted, had to be used for the concerned end-use plant. If the company has not consumed it, then it is to be blamed. He also said that since the mine, Gare Palma IV/7, has now been alloted to Monnet and vesting orders have been passed, the matter was now between the two companies.

Sarda, however, said the accumulated stock are rejects which are obtained after the coal is washed off its impurities and added that it requires some more time to sell the same. It also alleged it was unable to sell the rejects till date as the necessary permission was not given by the government.