SC grants relief to Mundra port units

Written by Indu Bhan | Indu Bhan | New Delhi | Updated: Feb 16 2013, 08:33am hrs
Supreme Court on Friday stayed the Gujarat High Court order that halted commercial production at all 12 industrial units operating in the Adani group-owned Adani Port Special Economic Zone (APSEZ) in Mundra.

A bench headed by Chief Justice Altamas Kabir, while issuing notice to the Centre through MoEF, APSEZ, Gujarat Pollution Control Board (GPCB) and other 21 parties, including the 11 other companies, stayed the Thursday's exparte HC order.

The apex court granted stay after Dorf Ketal Speciality Catalyst Pvt Ltd, a chemicals manufacturer, challenged the HC order that directed the 12 units to immediately stop work of their respective units and business operations within Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone Ltd (formerly Mundra Port and SEZ Ltd) till environment clearance is granted by the ministry of environment and forests in favour of APSEZ. More companies are likely to move the Supreme Court for similar relief.

The Adani Group units whose operations have been stayed by the HC include Ahistrom Fiber Composites (I) Pvt Ltd, Aadi Oil Pvt Ltd, Empezar Logistics Pvt Ltd, Avesta Engineering Pvt Ltd, Ashapura Garments Ltd, Terram Geosynthetics Pvt Ltd, Theramax Ltd, Skaps Industries, Oilfield Warehouse & Services, Dorf Ketal Speciality Catalyst Pvt Ltd, Anjani Udyog Pvt Ltd and Oriental Carbon Chemicals Ltd.

Adani, in a press statement, said: On 14.2.13, the Gujarat High Court passed an ex-parte ad-interim order staying construction and operations of 12 units in Mundra SEZ. One of the units approached the SC against the said order dated 14.2.13. After hearing, the Supreme Court has stayed the ex-parte ad-interim order dated 14.2.13 passed by Gujarat high court.

The HC had passed the interim order on a PIL by villagers of Navinal village who alleged that the 12 units of the Adani Group have gone ahead with the production as well as import and export activities without any environment clearance. They further submitted that these units have taken benefits of tax exemptions as per SEZ rules.

According to the SLP, the chemical manufacturer who has been allotted a plot in the SEZ, had obtained all the necessary environmental clearances and also permissions from Gujarat state pollution control board. Besides, the HC has no jurisdiction to try and entertain such pleas in view of the National Green Tribunal, which alone has jurisdiction to decide cases where a substantial question relating to environment is involved, Dorf Ketal Speciality senior counsel Mukul Rohtagi argued.

The company, which claimed to have invested around R100 crore for its plant in the SEZ, said that its Adani which is required to obtain necessary environmental clearance for its SEZ and such clearance is not for any specific industry. ...the permission for SEZ is necessary for providing infrastructural facilities by the developer of the said SEZ. Such permission has no bearing on the manufacturing/operations of a particular unit... the authorities concerned while granting such permissions are aware of such distinction, petition stated.