TISCO, ESSAR projects in Chhattisgarh questioned in SC

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New Delhi, Sep 1 (UNI) The Supreme Court today issued notices to the Centre, Chhattisgarh government, TISCO and ESSAR Steel Chhattisgarh Limited on a petition seeking cancellation of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed by the state government with the top two steel giants for setting up of iron, steel and power projects in the state.

A bench comprising Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan and Justice P Sathasivam issued notices after hearing the counsel for the petitioner, who contended that the interests of the state have been compromised and if the MoUs dated June 4, 2005 and July 5, 2005 signed with TISCO and ESSAR respectively were not quashed, it would cause huge losses to the state exchequer.

Petitioner Sudiep Shrivastava also alleged that the royalty rates for iron ore have been fixed at meagre rate of Rs four to Rs 27 per tonne while the market rate of iron ore was around Rs 2000 per tonne.

The concept of competitiveness, fair play, transparency and public interest have been thrown to winds and the royalty rates have been fixed hardly at one per cent of the market value.

The petitioner has further alleged that even the Public Sector Undertakings (PSUS) have been ignored in order to provide land and other infrastructure to these two favourite companies at throwaway prices.

The petitioner has challenged the Chhattisgarh High Court judgement dated September 7, 2006 vide which the PIL of the petitioner was dismissed.

UNI SC RJ RP AS1700

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