The Odisha government has been quite successful with the fight against coronavirus lately, but the pandemic has already weakened the state revenue like many other states. To address the fast consuming revenue, the Naveen Patnaik-government has decided to borrow up to Rs 12,000 crore from the funds of Odisha Mineral Bearing Areas Development Corporation (OMBADC) and the Compensatory Afforestation (CAMPA).

Both OMBADC and CAMPA are safe with the Reserve Bank of India under the state’s cash account and have not been fully utilised.

“Despite the fact that we have a huge cash balance with the RBI, we were going back to the RBI for permission to borrow from the market for our capital expenditure. This was an anomaly,” Odisha finance secretary Ashok Meena told Economic Times.

The approval has been sought by former supreme court judge Ananga Kumar, the auditor general who looks after the supervising committee of the OMBADC’s expenditures.

On August 2, 2017, the Supreme Court had levied a compensation charge on Odisha miners for the violations of environmental laws. A fund of Rs 17,000 crore was raised by the fine.

The Apex Court had directed the Odisha government to spend the funds in areas affected by the mining activities. However, much of this fund remains unspent even today.