Odisha unable to realise tax from mining companies: Minister

Bhubaneswar: Expressing its inability to fully realise tax from mining firms, Odisha government on Monday said it could collect Rs 10 crore as VAT against demand of Rs 397.12 crore and Rs 3 crore against demand of Rs 99.28 crore as entry tax during between April 1, 2008 to March 31, 2011.

"The state government could not realise tax from the mining companies as they managed to get court orders," state Finance Minister Prasanna Acharya said while replying to a question in the assembly.

Congress MLA Naba Kishore Das during the question hour sought a clarification from the government on steps taken against lessees those were responsible for reduced value added tax (VAT) collection for the state government.

"Iron ore are being sold by Sarada Mines at only Rs 237 per tonne compared to Rs 1727 a tonne of Odisha Mining Corporation (OMC) and Rs 2060 per tonne of Odisha Minerals Development Company (OMDC). The state is losing by way of lesser VAT collection due to under pricing of the ore, Das said.

Stating that it was IBM (Indian Bureau of Mines) and not the state government which determined base of the sale price of ores, Acharya said the notice had been issued certain mines including Sarada Mines for violation of Rule-37 of Mineral Concession Rules- 1960.

The lessee was allegedly selling the entire run-of-mine (ROM) produce from its Thakurani mines in Keonjhar district to Jindal Steel & Power Ltd (JSPL) without any agreement. The notice was served on the lessee on the basis of a five-member panel of steel and mines department that had held the leaseholder guilty of the violation, official sources said.

The five-member committee headed by P C Patra, deputy director of mines (Bhubaneswar) said the major benefit of the mine is flowing to JSPL. The present arrangement of selling ROM to JSPL by Sarada Mines amounts to transferring the interest in the mining lease to the steel company as per provisions of Rule 37 of MCR-1960, the report stated.

The minister said the state government was probing into tax payments of mining companies if it suspected their activities.