Bhubaneswar,June 1, 2018:
Taking cognizance on the matter of non-collection of water tax from various companies using river water for commercial purposes, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has issued notice to chief secretary and secretary of Water Resource Department and asked to submit action taken report within four weeks time.
The commission has issued this direction while responding to a complaint filed by rights activist Akhand in this regard.
The petition said, A number of companies have been allocated water from various rivers like Mahandi and its tributaries in Odisha. From 2010 to 2017, a total quantity of 1229.857 cusecs of water has been allocated to 113 companies from various rivers more particularly from Mahanadi. But Water Resources Department of Odisha which has been under control of Chief Minister since last 15 years has miserably failed to collect water tax from these Companies due negligence of the public authorities.
Activist alleges loss of Rs 3400 crores to state Exchequer
“Non-payment of water tax by the Companies has caused a colossal loss of 3400 crore rupees to state exchequer. If interest against pending amount is charged, it will be more than Rs. 5000 crore revenue loss to state exchequer”, alleged Akhand.
It is learn that Officers and Engineers are hand in gloves with these defaulting Companies and have been bribed heavily for not collecting water tax, alleged the petitioner.
According to the Government data, total no. of 287 Companies has not paid water tax to State Government. Total outstanding of water tax against these Companies is Rs. 3411 crore.
Major companies which have deliberately not paid water tax :
|Name of Company||Amount pending ( In crores) as on 31.12.17||Arrear pending|
|Ballarpur Industries, Choudwar||255.21||30.5.2000|
|Arati Steel||40.07||March, 2013|
|Maheswary Ispat Limited||23.66||Nov. 20111|
|Orient Paper Mills, Brajaraj Nagar||129.15||1.4.1999|
|M/s Bhusan Ltd.||50.26||Dec. 2004|
|Tata Refactories Ltd., Belapahad||39.08||1.4.1999|
|M/s Shyam DRI Pvt. Ltd.||62.24||Sept.2006|
|Rathi Steel & Power Ltd.||20.74|
|M/s ESPL Ltd.||13.68||Oct.2006|
|Sree Mahavir Ferro Alloys , Jiabahal||34.15||March, 2012|
|Vedanta Allumini Ltd.||10.86|
|Jindal Steel and Power Ltd.||39.50|
|Reliance Industries, Dhenkanal||26.52||1.4.1993|
|Bhusan Steel Limited||33.02|
|BRG Iron &Steel Co. Khuntuni||11.63||Oct.2010|
|Tata Steels, Joda||93.61||Jan., 1996|
|J.K.Corporation Limited, J.K.Pur||16.24||26.9.1994|
|Esar Steels India, Pvt. Ltd., Keonjhar||10.59|
|Sewa Paper Mill, Jeypore||443.83||2000|
Such negligence of the public authority directly affected the development process of the state and that leads to violation of human rights of the citizen of the state, petitioner argued and prayed for action.
Hearing the petition, the Commission has taken the matter seriously and issued notice to the Chief Secretary and Secretary of Water Resource Department of Odisha. The Commission has directed the authorities to submit the action taken report within four weeks time.
The Commission warns, “In case the report is not received within the stipulated time the commission shall be constrained to invoke coercive process under section 13 of the protection of Human Rights Act,1993 for personal appearance of the concerned authority.”
The apex rights panel has also wanted to know from the Odisha State Human Rights Commission whether they take cognizance on the same matter.