Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Aug 1:
In Odisha as many as 129 companies, including government-run corporations, owe a whopping Rs 6169.732 crore towards Water Tax for the period between 2000 and 2014.
While the highest defaulter among the government agencies is Burla Power House with Rs 4719. 83 crore pending against it, Sewa Paper Mill, Jeypore comes second with Rs 172.18 crore of unpaid water tax.
The PIO’s reply has listed 23 companies from who owe the government Rs 10 crore or more towards water tax.
Among them are Burla Power House; Sewa Paper Mill, Jeypore; NALCO, Angul; OHPC Ltd, UKHEP, Bariniput; TTPS (NTPC) Chainpal; Bhusan Limited and Reliance Industries, Dhenkanal.
Here is a list of the major companies against whom the water tax worth Rs. 10 crores or more is pending:
|Sl.No||Name of Company/ Factories/ Institutions||Arrear up to 31.3.14
(Rs. In Lakhs)
|Jarka Irrigation Division|
|1||Nilachal Ispat Nigam Limited||1626.87|
|2||IDCO, Kalinga Nagar||3403. 29|
|Mahanadi North Division , Jagatpur, Cuttack|
|Main Dam Division, Burla, Jharsuguda|
|4||Orient Paper Mills, Brajaraja Nagar||5292.080|
|5||M.C.L., Brajaraj Nagar||5022.766|
|7||Tata Refectories Limited, Belpahad||1603.084|
|8||Burla Power House||471983.95|
|9||M/s Bhusan Limited||1545.435|
|10||Viraj Steel and Energy||704.078|
|11||M/s Shyam DRI Pvt. Ltd||2585.35|
|Head Works Division, Samal, Dist-Angul|
|M/s Odisha Power Consortium Ltd.||3580.34|
|13||OHPC Rengali Hydro Electric Project||4276.00|
|Angul Irrigation Division|
|15||TTPS (NTPC) Chainpal||18574.958|
|16||Jindal Steel and Power Ltd.||1398.041|
|17||Reliance Industries, Dhenkanal||1088.023|
|18||Shakti Sugar, Dhenkanal||753.649|
|Berhampur Irrigation Division|
|19||Indian Rare Earth Ltd.||1375.816|
|Upper Kolab Head Works Divsion, Kolabnagar, Koraput|
|20||NALCO ( M&R), Damanjodi||4869.441|
|21||Sewa paper Mill, Jeypore||17218.835|
|23||OHPC, Ltd. UKHEP, Bariniput||22121.95|
The reply by the Water Resources department further reveals that only 13 out of 129 companies have brought stay order from Odisha High Court challenging water tax imposed by the state government.
They are :
|Sl.No||Name of Company||Year of Stay||Details of action taken to vacate the stay|
|1||Sakti Sugars Ltd., Dhenkanal||2006||1.Counter affidavit and Misc. Cases filed by State Govt. on 13.4.07 and 5.2.20092. Additional affidavit filed by CE, Water Resources on 19.6.13|
|2||Jayshree Chemicals, Berhampur Irrigation Division||2000||EE, Berhampur Irrigation Division filed last affidavit on 10.2.09|
|3||Canon Drunkerly and Co., Rayagada, Harabhanga Irrigation Division, Adava||2004||Last Counter affidavit filed the state Govt. on 4.5.2009|
|4||SE Railyways, Jharsuguda||2005||Counter Affidavit filed by EE, Main Dam Division, Burla on 3.2.2009|
|5||Tata Steels, Joda||2006||Counter affidavit filed on 2006 and 2009Addl. Affidavit filed by CE, OWPO on 12.12.2011|
|6||Aska Cooperative Sugar Industries Ltd. Bhanjanagar||2005||EE., Bhanjanagar Irr. Division filed Misc. Case in 2009.|
|7||Ballarpur Industry (SEWA) Jeypore||2000||Last Affidavit filed CE, Water Resources in 2002Misc. Case filed by EE, UK Head Works Division in 2009|
|8||Ballarpur Industries, Choudwar||2000||Last Counter affidavit filed by EE, Mhanadi North Division in 2000|
|9||Paradeep Phosphates Limited||Counter affidavit filed in WP(C) 19097/2011|
|10||Arati Steels Ltd. Cuttack||2000||No counter affidavit filed in WP (C) No. 18501/2013|
|11||Jindal steels aand Power Lid.||not given||EE, Angul Irrigation Division has been directed to file counter affidavit in WP (C) No. 18635/13|
|12||Emami Paper Mills Ltd., Balasore||not given||EE, Balasore has filed counter affidavit in WP (C) No. 6047/12|
|13||Mahaveer Ferro Alloys Ltd.Sundargarh Irrigation Division||not given||Counter affidavit filed on 11.11.13 in WP (C) No. 10147/13|
|Besides, Secretary and Addl. secretary, Water Resources have filed further affidavits for full bench hearing of the cases of the industries from Serial No. 1 to 8 of the list on 26.2.09 and 25.2.09 respectively as per direction of Odisha High Court.|
While the PIO’s reply states that the state government has engaged two advocates to fight the cases in the High Court, it has not provided any information on the money paid as professional fee to them.
The fact remains that while only 13 companies have challenged the quantum of water tax levied by the Odisha government one fails to understand why the government has not made any move to collect its dues from other companies.
What is evident from the reply is that in most of the cases, where companies have challenged their water tax bills, the state government has sat pretty after filing counter affidavits ( the last one was in 2009). Since then the cases have neither been heard nor has the government taken any steps for their quick disposal.
According to Pradhan, the lingering of the cases in the High Court has affected the financial interests of the state and entailed a huge burden on the state exchequer.
“But what is more important is that the whole game smells of an unholy nexus between the companies and the bureaucracy.What else explains the fact that defaulting companies continue to draw water without depositing a single paisa ?”, Pradip Pradhan asked.