Tag Archives: Jharsuguda News

Odisha SEZ policy in limbo due to objection to tax doles

Odisha’s proposed Special Economic Zone (SEZ) policy, aimed at attracting investors in non-metallurgical sectors has hit the wall of uncertainty. Though the draft of the policy was framed two years back, it has hardly moved ahead.

Sources said, the finance department was not keen on doling out tax sops and incentives in line with the prevailing SEZ policy of the Government of India and this has presumably delayed any progress on policy making.

“The finance department is of the view that only incentives incorporated in the Industrial Policy Resolution (IPR)-2007 should be extended to the SEZs. The department of finance fears revenue loss if tax sops are offered to such zones. But there is no way we can frame any state specific SEZ policy without including a set of exclusive incentives,” said an official of the state industries department.


Finance department sources said, no call was taken yet on offering tax incentives to the SEZs but views of the directorate of commercial taxes were sought.

As per the draft SEZ Policy of the state, the import of goods and services made to SEZ units located within the processing zone from the domestic tariff area shall be exempted from Value Added Tax (VAT), entry tax, electricity duty and other cess payable on sales and transactions.

Gujarat was the first state to formulate a state specific SEZ policy in 2002 and enacted legislation to this effect in 2004. Besides Gujarat, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, Punjab, Kerala, West Bengal, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh have formulated SEZ policies.

Exports from all SEZs across the country grew 15 per cent in 2011-12 to Rs 3.6 lakh crore.

The Odisha government’s SEZ policy was aimed at widening its investment horizon and attract more investors in sectors like information technology, biotechnology, electronics, automobiles and auto component manufacturing, ship building, gems and jewellery and pharmaceuticals.

Under the proposed SEZ Policy, the state government shall not encourage SEZs based on mining and minerals like iron ore chrome ore and bauxite. However, SEZs based on the use of intermediate products like alumina for smeltering, primary metals for further processing on the value chain and rare minerals like tin, limenite, nickel, platinum and vanadium will be allowed.

Moreover, the state shall not encourage SEZs based on activities like mining that cause pollution. The State Pollution Control Board was to prepare a list of such industries and the same would be notified by the state government as a negative list.

Till now, four SEZs have been notified in the state- the sector specific IT/ITes SEZ at Chandaka Industrial Estate in Bhubaneswar developed by Idco, sector specific SEZ for stainless steel and ancillary downstream industries at the Kalinga Nagar Industrial Complex being developed by JSL, aluminium and aluminium products SEZ at Lapanga near Sambalpur being developed by Hindalco Industries and another aluminium SEZ with Captive Power Plant being developed by Vedantal Aluminium Limited at Jharsuguda.

Five Person killed in train mishaps in western Odisha

Five persons were run over by trains at level crossings in three different locations in western Odisha on Friday and Saturday.

Three persons, Jitendra Bag (20), Bhakta Kalo (22) and Upendra Khadia, (25) from Balanda village of Pandari panchayat in Jharsuguda district’s Belpahar police station area were hit by the Azad Hind Express at Belpahar level-crossing on Friday evening. Jitendra and Bhakta died on the spot. Upendra succumbed to his injuries later at a local hospital.

A youth, Arya Kumar Ashim, slipped from the Durg-Puri Express at Balangir station on Saturday and died on the spot. On the other hand, Kanhu Mirdha from Ghumka village in Sadar police station area, was crossing Hatibari level crossing on his tractor when the Sambalpur-Puri Intercity Express hit him on Saturday morning, killing him on the spot.

Samblapur teen rakesh is the lone player from Odisha to represent the country

Samblapur teen Rakesh Oram in national junior football teamThe All India Football Federation (AIFF) has selected a 14-year-old boy from Sambalpur to be part of the national junior (under 15) team that will play a tournament in Madrid next month. Sources said Rakesh Oram is the lone player from Odisha to represent the country.

Rakesh lives in the Sambalpur sports hostel, run by the state sports department, and studies in Class IX of Sambalpur NG High School. He came to the hostel after he was spotted by coach Gangadhar Behera during a talent search in 2010. “I am proud of him. During the last few years, he has shaped up well,” Behera said on Wednesday.

He said Rakesh’s foot work took the state team to the semi-finals in the 34th national sub-junior championship (Mir Iqbal Hussain Trophy ) held in Goa in 2011. Rakesh had scored three goals against Karnataka, two against UP and one against Meghalaya. “He attracted a lot of attention because of his performance. AIFF selected him for the regional academy of Navi Mumbai and now he will fly to Madrid to represent the country,” Behera added.

Rakesh will go to Mumbai on Friday to join the junior national team that is scheduled to leave for Spain on July 2 from New Delhi. “I am delighted to know about my son’s selection,” said Gopal Oram, Rakesh’s father. Rakesh belongs to Chituapada village near Jharsuguda.

Industries prosper sans payment of water fees

At a time when water is being considered a scarce commodity and with industries mushrooming all over the State, including Sambalpur and Jharsuguda districts where the Hirakud reservoir is the main source, a good number of industrial units, unfortunately drawing water from this reservoir, even at the cost of agriculture, are going scot free without paying water rent to the tune of crores. This when the dam authorities even take the risk of storing more water during the rainy season for these industries, apprehending scanty rainfall and in violation of rules.

While a poor farmer is compelled to pay water rent, the same rule is not being applied to the industries in these two districts as well as most other parts of the State. A farmer cannot sell paddy in the market without showing a water tax payment receipt. But industries who evade water rent do not face the slightest trouble either in operating their units or in marketing their products. And in the process, some officers and politicians get their hands sufficiently greased. It is also alleged that some of the industries are clandestinely using ground water to meet their excess requirements.

As per reports, all the industries of these two districts draw 100 crore litres of water everyday for their use. These industries are — Aditya Aluminium-Lapanga, SMC Power-Hirma, Rathi Steel and Power-Potapali, Shyam DRI-Rengali, Bhushan Power and Steel-Rengali, Biraj Steels and Power-Rengali, Action Ispat-Marakuta, Aryan Ispat-Rengali, Vedant Aluminium-Jharsuguda, NTPC Power Plant-Darlipali and many more. But most of these industries are not paying water rent regularly. Some of them, very tactfully, do not pay the rent for years together. And after a few years they go for one-time settlement and pay very meagre amounts with the blessings of politicians and departmental officers.

On the other hand, the officers who are helping the industries have been immensely benefited monetarily and by way of good jobs to their relations with better perks. Even the CAG of India in his report has mentioned the irregularities in this regard during 2003-2008. Whereas the State Government needs to be more careful after the CAG report, no such promptness is seen from the Government side for collection of the pending dues.
The situation is also no better in other places of the State so far as collection of water tax from the industries is concerned. The industries by gaining over the officers continue to live off the State’s economy.

Hirakud stops business houses from tapping into dam water

The Hirakud dam authorities have asked industrial houses in Jharsuguda and Sambalpur districts to stop drawing water from the reservoir in view of water scarcity. Sending notices to at least 10 major industrial houses, the dam authorities requested them to make arrangement of water on their own till there is an increase in the reservoir level.

The water level of the reservoir went down to 594.97 feet on Wednesday and if there is no rain in the catchment area in a day or two, the level would soon go down to the “dead level” of 590 feet. Farmers of the region, too, expressed deep concern over the situation as water scarcity in the reservoir has affected agriculture. Water scarcity has reportedly forced the dam authority to reduce discharge of canal water. This has also affected power generation in Burla and Chipilima power stations. However, the dam authority denied the allegation saying everything is well under control and a rise in the water level is expected soon because of rain in the upstream of Mahanadi.

“We have asked the industrial houses to stop taking water from the reservoir as the water level has gone down bellow 595 feet. However, discharge of canal water is still unaffected,” executive engineer of the Hirakud dam project R K Panda said on Thursday. He informed that the industries that have been asked to stop taking water from Hirakud are IB Thermal, SMC Hirma, BIT, Action Ispat, Vedanta, Sterelite Energy and Ind-Barath of Jharsuguda district and Bhusan Steel and Power, Shyam Metalics and Biraj steel of Sambalpur district.

According to Panda, 38.94 mm rainfall has been recorded in the upstream and 55.40 mm in the downstream of Mahanadi on Thursday.

Dam experts, on the other hand, apprehended severe problems ahead because of the sharing of dam water with industrial houses. They feel that power generation and irrigation have been drastically affected owing to water sharing. “Power generation has been definitely affected because of water scarcity in the reservoir. Earlier the power house produced more than 1200 million units of power in a year, but now, it has come down to below 1000 MU. The dam record shows last year a little over 679 million unit power was generated,” the former managing director of OHPC, Kanunakar Supakar, said.