Mining firms have to pay Rs 204 cr tax

The Department has been renewing their mining licences despite default on payment of Forest Development Tax (FDT) to the tune of Rs 204 crore, for the last two years. The interest on arrears alone amounts to Rs 1.32 crore.

The FDT is being collected at the rate of six per cent on billing rate of ore since March 2008. There are 56 mining companies operating in Bellary.  The Deputy Conservator of Forests, in his reply to an application under Right to Information Act has divulged that the mining operators owe

Rs 204.84 crore as tax arrears. The officer, however, has refused to furnish the names of defaulting companies. A sum of Rs 20 crore was collected as FDT in 20 days when Biswajit Mishra was posted as the DCF, following internecine fight among the BJP ministers. The Government had posted Mishra and transferred S Muttaiah when the Bellary ministers, Janardhan Reddy and Karunakara Reddy, raised a banner of revolt.

Sources said soon after assuming the office Mishra cracked the whip by refusing to renew the licences of defaulting companies. The strict measure resulted in the government raking up huge tax revenue in a short span of time. However, buckling under political pressure, Mishra was transferred restoring Muttaiah as the DCF.

When contacted, Muttaiah admitted that many companies have defaulted on the FDT payment and notices have been issued to erring companies. However, he also refused to disclose names of the mining companies.

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