The State-owned Odisha Mining Corporation (OMC) is yet to pay over `300 crore to the Forest and Environment Department towards net present value of forest land.
The Forest Department has shot off a letter to OMC seeking immediate deposit of the NPV which is realised for diversion of the forest land which is used by mining companies or industries.
As per the report furnished by the Principal Chief Conservator of Forests’ office, the State PSU has not paid `302 crore for 11 projects as yet. Six Divisional Forest Officers (DFOs) have submitted the demand for NPV.
As per the reports of the Keonjhar DFO, `33 crore is yet to be deposited by three lessees under its jurisdiction. The lessees under Keonjhar Wildlife Division are yet to pay over `236 crore while the one under Bonai has not deposited `38.39 crore. Similarly, the two units under Cuttak Division are yet to make payments for about `15 crore. Lessees operating under Karanjia and Rayagada too have not made the payments.
The Department said NPV is part of the statutory clearance for operating the mines and its non-payment for the entire forest land amounts to violation of the orders of Supreme Court. It has directed the Corporation to take immediate action to realise the amounts and deposit the same in the Compensatory Afforestation Management and Planning Authority’s ad hoc account.
The NPV amount represents the value of the forest land, which is being used, for all times to come.
It is more than just the value of timber. It is a one-time payment that a user makes for diverting forest land for non-forest use. CAMPA uses the funds for afforestation and reforestation measures.