Suryaa Sponge Iron Ltd under Scanner in Odisha, IT-ED Raids demanded

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By Our Correspondent

BHUBANESWAR/JAJPUR/KEONJHAR: Suryaa Sponge Iron Ltd located at Budhakendua-Kalakala area of Odisha’s industrial and mineral rich Jajpur district has been under scanner with environmental and forest rights activists seeking probe into air and water pollution by the company and raids by ED, IT and GST wing to unearth all illegal network of DD Agarwal owned firm. Sources said, DD Agarwal was earlier under scanner for illegal work of Gandhamardhan Sponge  Industries Ltd located in State’s another mineral rich Keonjhar district.

“We demand that TDS wing of the Income Tax Department should look into the company’s all business transactions and its IT returns,” Sushant Rout , an activist said in Bhubaneswar. He alleged that the Company severely violating u/s 194J/194/C of the Income-tax Act, 1961. Sources also revealed that the Company openly flouting the norms of TDS and tax collected at source (TCS) and was paying less tax to the Income Tax Department.

Directorate General of GST Intelligence (DGGI) Headquarters should also look into the issue, Rout added. Directorate of Revenue Intelligence should also keep a close watch on the company, he added. He further demanded owners of the company should be arrested under Section 69(1) of CGST Act, 2017 for offences under the provisions of Sections 132(1)(b) and 132(1)(c) of the CGST Act, 2017.

Despite several attempts, contacts were not made with any company officials for comments on these allegations. Sources said some reportedly ITR filings and tax auditor reports and real time data generated by CPC-TDS, it was seen that the deductor having already deducted tax in earlier years, had not deposited the deducted taxes in Government account.

It may be noted here that the Income Tax Department had, in recent times, stepped up enforcement action against TDS default cases as this category of revenue contributes to over 45% of the total direct tax collection in the Country. As per Rules, the TDS has to be paid to the credit of the Central Government within seven days from the end of the month in which the deduction is made.

“Due to deforestation in various hills, 80 per cent of streams have gone dry. The water flow in Deogarha’s Padhanpata, Sundargarh’s Khandadhar and Keonjhar’s Sanaghagara and Badaghagara waterfalls has decreased by 50 per cent in last 10 years.The Government had earlier admitted that the water-flow in the Padhanpata waterfall at Deogarh had decreased drastically due to destruction of forests. But on the contrary, it showing favour to Suryaa Sponge Iron Ltd in Jajpur district, where 2 major rivers including Baitarani, Kuakhia and Kharostroa are drying every day,” said a forest rights activists.

Locals however expressed concerns over the dwindling of the wild animals and the increasing man-animal conflict in human habitations due to water and fodder scarcity in jungles and hills. “The residents will suffer acute water scarcity in near future.

This apart, company violated Mines and Minerals Act, Mines and Minerals Regulation Act of 1957’s section 21. The company involved in illegal mining, theft and transportation. The company has violated pollution control act of 1986, air pollution control act of 1981, water pollution control act of 1974 and forest rights act of 1980.Companies were supposed to extract mining with clearance of air and water pollution control under various acts like Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 and consent to operate under the Water (PCP) Act, 1974 and Air (PCP) Act, 1981, they said.

The firm has been violating forest and wildlife laws .The Company, also creating air and water pollution while defying orders of Odisha State Pollution Control Board and Union Forest and Environment Ministry. Action should have taken against the company under Forest Conservation Act, 1980 and Odisha Forest Act-1972 and Mines and Minerals Act.

Company which operating without valid consent to operate should have been issued closure directions or will be prosecuted as per the provisions in Water (PCP) Act, 1974 and Air(PCP) Act, 1981.While granting “consent to operate”, it will be ensured that the proponent has obtained all other statutory clearances under Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980 and Environment (Protection) Act, 1986.The Company has no respect to labour laws, they said.

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