India’s greatest water scam unearthed?

Information available with Water Initiatives Odisha(WIO), a conglomerate of Civil Society Organisation working on water issue reveals that up to November 2011, industries and commercial establishments were yet to pay near to a whopping 3000 crore rupee water tax and fines for water they have drawn from the Hirakud reservoir.  The Orissa Hydro Power Corporation (OHPC) is the leading defaulter with more than 2700 crore rupees alone!

“This is arguably India’s greatest Water Scam!” assets Ranjan Panda, the convener of WIO. “What is more shocking is that these dues are pending for several decades.    We urge upon the Government of Odisha to immediately commission an independent high level enquiry into the matter and release detailed explanation as to why this huge amount of money has not been collected from the industries and other commercial establishments for so long.  The people of the state need an immediate answer on this.  We also demand that the guilty be punished with no lenient terms for this Great Odisha Water Scam.” Said panda

3000 crore of rupees is sufficient to fund at least 600 minor irrigation projects/check dams that can provide assured irrigation to at least 12000 farming families.  If this mney could be recovered, it could be used for assured irrigation to drought prone villages in and around the Hirakud reservoir, where the families displaced by this dam half a century back are still suffering water scarcity, opine experts.  “We urge, get this money back first and then come to ask for votes to our villages’ said a villager near Hirakud dam.

WIO has demanded near before the government to come up with a white paper on all industries and commercial complexes those have defaulted paying water tax and fines from all water sources of the state and ways to recover the money and punish the guilty officials and industries/commercial establishments.

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