129 companies owe Odisha govt water tax worth Rs 6170 crore!

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.

water tax billThis was revealed through the reply by the PIO of the office of Engineering-in-Chief, Water Resources in reponse to an RTI query by leading RTI activist Pradip Pradhan on June 27, 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
3 Arati Steel 1321.31
Main Dam Division, Burla, Jharsuguda
4 Orient Paper Mills, Brajaraja Nagar 5292.080
5 M.C.L., Brajaraj Nagar 5022.766
6 B.I.T.S., Bandhabahal 1607.72
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
14 NALCO, Angul 28304.845
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
22 P.H.Division, Koraput 1048.458
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.

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