Nalco challenges Odisha HC’s order favouring Vedanta

By Amiya Kumar Kushwaha

New Delhi: The National Aluminum Co Ltd (Nalco) has moved the Supreme Court challenging the Odisha High Court judgement allowing Vedanta’s Jharsuguda unit to participate in the tender floated by Nalco for the sale of surplus alumina.

Public sector enterprise Nalco, in its special leave petition, said that as per the policy, the tender for export of alumina was issued only to overseas customers and, therefore, Vedanta could not be registered with Nalco.

It also told the court that in 2005 Nalco, after considering various circumstance, decided to sell alumina overseas.

Nalco is a leading producer of low-cost metallurgical grade alumina in the world and the commodity produced is used to meet its requirements to produce primary aluminium at smelter. The surplus alumina is sold to third parties in the export market.

But Nalco has rejected Vedanta’s plea for participating in tender for the sale of alumina, observing that Vedanta Ltd was established under the Special Economic Zone (SEZ) statute.

However, Nalco said that Vedanta could participate in the tender, if interested, through its sister concern company based in London.

Aggrieved by the decision, Vedanta moved the Odisha High Court which allowed the company’s Jharsuguda unit to participate in the tender.

The Odisha High Court in its order delivered on March 26 said: “… Because on one hand, it refuses the petitioner (Vedanta) to participate in the tender, on the other hand, the opposite party has allowed the petitioner to apply through its sister concern based in London and spend huge Forex to transport to London and call it back for its use at SEZ, does not find favour with the commercial sense.”

Vedanta has challenged the corporate conditions contained in the tender of spot sale of 30,000 mt of Metallurgical Grade Calcined Alumina floated by Nalco.

Vedanta said that the decision of Nalco has adversely affected the public interest of fetching maximum revenue by sale of a alumina produced from bauxite (which is readily available to the opposite party through mining on account of it being a public sector undertaking).

Vedanta claimed it was the largest manufacturer of aluminium and was engaged in manufacturing and selling aluminium products.

The company is having 1.6 million tonnes per annum (MTPA) aluminium smelter plant which includes a SEZ unit having an Aluminum Smelter Plant with a capacity of 1.25 MTPA at Bhurkamunda in Jharsuguda district in Odisha.


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