Oil companies charged with evading tax

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Guwahati, Apr 1 (UNI) Oil majors like OIL and ONGC, working in Assam, have been accused of evading tax worth Rs 200 crore and the matter today found mention in the Assembly.

Revenue Minister Dr Bhumidhar Burman said the state government had been seized of the matter.

Both OIL and ONGC had been accused of paying lesser land revenue by falsely showing area under oil exploration as farm land. Assam has a higher land revenue for commercial land.

The OIL and ONGC, after finding oil reserve, buy land outright from original owner but continue paying revenue on the basis of agricultural land. But the revenue almost doubles after being converted to commercial land.

Dr Burman said all the Deputy Commissioners had been given orders long ago but it had not been properly followed.

He informed the Assembly that Deputy Commissioners of Tinsukia, Dibrugarh and Sibsagar districts had been asked to inquire and find out the total amount of farmland under commercial activity of the oil majors.

According to him, if the Deputy Commissioner did not find out the truth, the state government might be losing huge amount of money.

Incidentally, the ONGC had challenged in Gauhati High Court the state government's previous order of raising land revenue. The matter is sub-judice.

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