Odisha to withdraw forest clearance to mines not paying NPV

Bhubaneswar: Unable to recover about Rs 813 crore towards Net Present Value from various mines lessees, Odisha government has asked the Principal Chief Conservator of Forest to ensure withdrawal of forest clearance to defaulting mines, officials said.

The state government’s action in this regard came after the mines owners were found not responding to the demand notices for payment of additional Net Present Value (NPV) according to the 2010 Supreme Court order.

The mines lessees were supposed to make payment under the NPV category for use of forest land for the mining purpose.

The defaulting mines lessees included the state-owned Odisha Mining Corporation (OMC) against which an amount of Rs 276.90 crore was pending, they said.

“In respect of cases where the defaulting lessees are continuing working in the mine, the lessee may be directed to deposit the balance of NPV within a period of 30 days failing which Government may be moved for withdrawal of the forest clearance granted to the lessee in respect of working mines,” Odisha’s forest and environment secretary R K Sharma in a letter to the PCCF said.

Sharma said the NPV is the amount the user agencies need to deposit as per the Supreme Court order in 2002 for diversion of forest land to non-forest usage.

It includes the cost of the land along with tangible and intangible benefits of the forest area and is charged at Rs 5.8 lakh to Rs 9.2 lakh per hectare depending on the type and density of the diverted forest land.

Sharma also said in the letter that those mine lessees who were not operating the mines and seeking a renewal of their lease from the steel and mines department, must be refused their renewal application for non-payment of NPV dues.

“In case of lessees not operating any mines whether applied for renewal or not, steps may also be initiated for recovery of the balance NPV through certificate cases,” the forest secretary said.

In a separate letter to the managing director OMC, the forest and environment secretary said the state PSU need to pay off NPV dues for its 11 mines with deposits of iron ore, manganese, chromite and china clay.

Of the OMC’s total due amounting Rs 301.95 crore, it has made payment of only Rs 49.22 crore.

The list of defaulters also included Steel Authority of India Ltd (SAIL) (Rs 76.80 crore) and Mahanadi Coalfields Ltd (MCL) (55.48 crore).

While the SAIL has not paid the NPV for forest land coming within its Harmath iron and manganese mines under Keonjhar division, MCL will pay for its Balanda mines.