Notices to 63 mining firms over forest cess

Notices to 63 mining firms over forest cess

 The Forest department has issued notices 63 mining companies, including the National Mining Development Corporation, over forest development cess dues.

It has decided to appeal to the deputy commissioner to help in collecting the cess.

The companies have not paid the cess for the period between 2008 and July 2011, before the practice to award contracts through e-tender came into being.

Several notices issued

The firms had been issued several notices to pay up the huge outstanding amounts. But since they ignored them, the Forest department has now set June 21 as the deadline in the final notices.

If the companies do not pay up even now, it may initiate measures to collect cess through the Revenue department. The Karnataka Forest Act provides for paying the tax any time with interest at the rate of 18 per cent.

The companies have been asked to pay the cess pending up to June 9, along with 18 per cent interest. The firms are expected to pay 12 per cent of the selling price of their products as the cess. The companies had approached the High Court opposing this, in 2011. The court had then directed that they pay six per cent of the selling price as cess.

But the companies never paid up, Takhat Singh Ranavat, the deputy conservator of forests, told Deccan Herald.

Appeal to DC

The Forest department can only issue notices, but has no powers to take action beyond that. Hence the department would appeal to the DC to get the dues recovered under the Revenue Act.

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