Hirakud water proved too costly

Sambalpur: About 24 companies and establishments including government organisations owe about Rs2,876 crore to the government towards water tax for drawing water from the Hirakud dam. The records of the Burla Main Division office under the water resources department revealed that the greatest defaulter was the government owned public sector, the Odisha Hydro Power Corporation(OHPC). The Burla Power House of the OHPC owed about Rs 2,710 crore. The dues were pending till November 30,2011.

The dam authorities used to collect Rs. 1.50 per every unit of water before October,2010. The records revealed that the outstanding dues towards Burla Power House pending since 1996 stood at Rs 2,710 crore. However, the Burla Power House has been paying water tax at the rate of just one paisa per unit since October 2010 under the new tax structure. The secretary of the Water Resources department Suresh Mohapatra said that though no final decision has been taken, the government has a proposal to waive the entire pending tax dues of the Burla Power House to the tune of Rs 2,710 crore.

Likewise, another five organisations namely OPM, South-Eastern Railways, MCL, Tata and bandhabahal unit of BITS owed about Rs, 118 crore. The dues have been pending since the matter has been sub-judice. The railways owed over Rs 46 crore since 1962. The railways filed a petition questioning the source of water and the decision is pending.

The state assembly recently witnessed heated arguments over a proposal to waive Rs none crore water tax pending against the Vedantas. The government later clarified that there was no question of tax waiver and the amount would be collected from the company for drawing water from the Hirakud dam.