Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, June 11:
After sustaining huge revenue losses, the Odisha government has finally woken up to the issue of allocation of water to industries from the state’s reservoirs in excess of their requirement and the resultant revenue losses as industries pay revenue to the government as per the volume used by them.
Sources revealed a high level meeting chaired by the chief secretary has taken up the issue seriously and has decided to constitute a joint committee comprising officials from the Water Resources department and IPICOL that will study which industry has been allocated what volume of water and how much of it is being lifted by them. The joint committee will also ascertain the volume allocated on pen and paper and the actual offtake by the industries.
The belated initiative is no doubt welcome. But there are no answers on about the circumstances under which such undue favours were granted to industries and how much of revenue has been lost in the process. Even the chief secretary did not utter a word on it in the meeting, sources revealed.
Sources said the Water Resources department raised its objections over allocation of water to industries at the high level meeting chaired by the chief secretary. The department said the government should allocate water to industries in a phased manner as concerned industries begin/raise their production capacities. Which means industries will be allowed to lift water in proportion to their production.
The department said that one-time allocation of water to industries as per their optimum requirement has led to problems in allocation of water to new industrial enterprises. As a result, industrial enterprises in the pipeline are delaying their productions.
On the one side, industrial enterprises are not paying revenue since they are not using the allocated water and on the other, this volume of water allocated to industries on pen and paper gets drained into the sea, the department is learnt to have said.
The department has informed that keeping in view the present situation in different rivers, it’s necessary to allocate water to industrial enterprises as per their actual requirement.
The department has impressed on the chief secretary the need to undertake a study of water requirements of different industrial enterprises in the state.
It has been decided to reconsider allocation of water to industrial units which have signed MoUs without sufficient reasons and have not started production. Departments of Industry, MSME, Water Resources and IPICOL will jointly cancel allocations and take measures towards conservation of water, it was decided at the meeting, sources said.
Industrial enterprises will be required to pay a fixed amount for the period since the in-principle allocation of water to it till its actual lifting of water. The committee will fix the rate for this.