Court to hear Vikram Solar’s safeguard duty petition next week

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Odisha High Court has granted Vikram Solar’s intervention application on safeguard duty matter. The next hearing of this case is scheduled for August 14.

“Vikram Solar has requested the Court to direct Ministry of Finance to clarify applicability of safeguard duty on special economic zone (SEZ) units and direct engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contracts which have already been awarded to be exempted from safeguard duty. We are hoping to get suitable relief from the Hon’ble court,” read a statement by Vikram Solar.

The Kolkata-based EPC company says failing to exempt SEZs from the new tariff defeats the point of the existence of such areas, which is to foster domestic manufacturing and industry.

Meanwhile, the government of India will consider changes to the safeguard duty imposed on solar cells imports only after the next hearing in the Odisha High Court that had stayed the levy – government officials were quoted as saying by BloombergQuint.

The government will submit its notification to the court along with the reasons cited by the Directorate General of Trade Remedies to increase the safeguard duty in its report. It will then decide whether to roll it back or not.

Earlier, Acme Solar won a stay order from Odisha High Court on safeguard duty. The government however ignored the stay and went on to apply the duty.

The Indian solar developer said this week that it would withdraw from its recently bagged solar PV park projects – as of July, it had around 2.8 GW solar of projects at different stages of development across India – if the respective state utilities do not cover the duty.