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The forest and environment department of the Odisha government has asked Sterlite Energy Ltd (SEL), a Vedanta group company, to immediately deposit its contribution towards Odisha Environment Management Fund (OEMF).
Earlier, the state energy department, in February this year, had asked the company to contribute to the fund, being managed by the forest and environment department.
The reminder to the company to deposit its contribution to the fund is seen as a counter offensive by the state government which had recently come under fire from Vedanta group for not paying Rs 744 crore dues for supply of power from SEL and the captive power plant of Vedanta Aluminium.
“Your contribution to the OEMF Trust may please be deposited in the Forest and Environment Department, and furnish a compliance report thereon to this department immediately,” said an order issued by the forest and environment department to Sterlite Energy.
The order was also issued to Arati Steels Ltd, another independent power producer (IPP) in the state.
The decision to float a climate protection fund was mooted in 2006, on the backdrop of about a dozen agreements signed by the state government then for thermal power plants. So far, the state has signed MoUs with 29 companies with combined envisaged generation capacity of 37,000 MW by the end of 2022.
According to the government policy, the IPPs will have to contribute six paise per unit every year to the fund for the power sold outside the state.
In January 2012, the Energy Department requested the designated nodal agency Forest and Environment Department to start the fund.
Sterlite Energy, having generation capacity of 600 MW, started production in two phases in November 2010 and March 2011 respectively from its facility in Jharsuguda district. Arati Steel Ltd, which had initially agreed to start a captive coal-based power plant of 50 MW and later desired to become an IPP, has been supplying power to the state grid since March 2010.
Both these companies are allowed to sell power to other states through the national grid network under open access scheme.