RAIPUR: The opposition Congress today staged a walkout from the Chhattisgarh Assembly after accusing the state government of providing excess water to industries at the expense of farmers.
On behalf of the Leader of Opposition T S Singhdeo, who was absent during the Question Hour in the Assembly, Congress MLA Mohan Markam asked about the quantity of water being used annually by the KSK Power Plant in Janjgir-Champa district as per its agreement with the government.
He also wanted to know the details of water tax fixed for the plant, its ground water usage and the water cess it had paid till January 15.
In his reply, Industry Minister Amar Agrawal said the power plant was to use 17.52 million cubic metre of surface water per year as per the agreement and, in 2016, the plant had used 18,378,411.10 cubic metre (18.37 million) of water.
He added that it had deposited water tax to the tune of Rs 18,96,45,103 while Rs 83,78,990 was due.
The minister further informed that for the year 2017, the water usage by the plant stood at 17,313,039.24 cubic meter of water. It had paid tax of Rs 15,80,91,899 while Rs 2,82,59,711 was due, he said.
The power plant was using 76.40 cubic meter of water from three borewells every day for drinking purposes, he said.
The Congress' Markam said that villagers had complained about the plant drawing excessive water from borewells.
Meanwhile, Congress MLA Kawasi Lakhma asked if an inquiry would be conducted on these complaints.
State Congress Chief Bhupesh Baghel further alleged that the state government has been giving water to industries but not to farmers.
The minister said said that extra taxes were imposed in case any industry used excess water but no such complaint had come to him so far.
Dissatisfied with the minister's reply, the Congress walked out from the Assembly.