PPT, Odisha Govt Resolve Water Cess Dispute

Paradip: The Odisha government and the Paradip Port Trust (PPT) have reached out negotiated settlement putting to an end the 23-year-long dispute over water cess.

“The Long pending water charges issue with the state government has been resolved. Points of differences regarding an outstanding sum amounting to Rs 60 crore regarding the water cess have been resolved”, said PPT Chairman, Rinkesh Ray.

The cess arrears dated back from 1994 to 2000 year. The port did not pay back the dues during the said period stating that the dues were not properly assessed and were inflated. As the cess remained unrealized over the years, the arrears had shot up drastically and the outstanding arrears with the cumulative interest had jumped to Rs 60 crore, according to port sources.

PPT had entered into an agreement with the government to draw water from Taladanda canal for supplying drinking water to the residents of port civil township. The agreement had categorically specified the water use for domestic purpose to cater to the needs of urban dwellers in Paradip. However, the department was later informed that the port had resorted to commercial use. However the charge was later refuted by PPT.

“The government had slapped commercial cess for water drawn from the canal. Dispute persisted over the years with PPT insisting that it was supplying water to domestic users. Finally it has been settled with the waiving of the sizeable sum of arrears that PPT had been asked to pay to the government, said a senior official of state Water Resources department.