BHUBANESWAR, MARCH 10
Slamming the Centre for its callousness in revising the coal royalty rate, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik today urged Union Coal Minister Piyush Goyal to revise rate of coal royalty from 14 percent at present to 20 percent at the earliest.
In a letter to Goyal, Patnaik said that though Odisha produces one-fifth of the total coal in India, a major portion of economic benefits from coal mining is being appropriated by the Centre.
“Odisha produces one-fifth of the coal produced in the country. The State bears the brunt of adverse effects of mining on environment besides, increased strain on water resources and infrastructure coupled with displacement of people. However, a major portion of economic benefits from coal mining is being appropriated by the Central Government,” the letter read.
While the rate of royalty on coal has remained unchanged for the last six years though MMDR Act permits its revision every three years, the rate of clean energy cess levied on coal has been raised from Rs 50 to Rs 400 per tonne during this period. Stating that since introduction of clean energy cess on coal from 2010-11, the Central Government has collected about Rs 17,300 crore upto March 2018, whereas during this period, the royalty received by the State is only Rs 11,000 crore, Patnaik said: “The State Government has been requesting for a share of at least 60 percent of such funds to deal with negative externalities. This may be considered by the Central Government early.”
Similarly, the profit before tax (PBT) of MCL, has increased from Rs 5,314.24 crore in 2014-15 to Rs 7,339.66 crore in 2017-18, registering a robust growth of over 38 percent. The MCL had contributed about Rs 2,021 crore to the Central exchequer during 2014-15, which increased more than three times to about Rs 6,163 crore during 2017-18. However, MCL has not yet paid the compensation amount of Rs 8,297.77 crore towards the cost of about 180 million tonnes of coal extracted in excess of the permissible limits under environmental clearance.
Patnaik, in his letter, requested the Coal Minister that MCL may be directed to pay the said compensation amount immediately.
As on March 31, 2017, MCL has utilised 10,000 hectares of land acquired under CBA Act for mining activities. However, in its two underground mines, closed since 1998 and 2006 respectively, MCL has just completed the sand stowing work of 5.38 lakh cum against the total requirement of 9.15 lakh cum. This non-completion of sand stowing continues to pose the threat of soil subsidence. “MCL may be adivised to complete the balance sand stowing expeditiously,” Naveen said in his letter.