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Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik demands immediate hike of royalty on coal to 20%

Bhubaneswar | Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Sunday demanded that the Centre immediately take steps to hike coal royalty from 14 per cent to 20 per cent, and complete sand stowing in closed mines of the state to check soil subsidence.

In a letter to Union Coal Minister Piyush Goyal, the chief minister said it is disheartening to learn that the final recommendation of the study group on coal royalty revision submitted on February 5, 2018 is still under consideration of the central government.

“It is once again requested that the central government may expedite a decision on this critical issue duly taking into account the long pending claim of the state government to revise the rate of royalty on coal from present 14 per cent to 20 per cent,” Patnaik said.

Odisha produces about one-fifth of the total coal production in the country, he said.

The Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act permits revision of royalty on coal every three years, but it has remained unchanged during the last six years, the chief minister said in the letter which was released to the media.

However, the rate of clean energy cess levied on coal by the central government has been raised from Rs 50 per tonne to Rs 400 per tonne during this period, Patnaik said.

Since the introduction of clean energy cess on coal from 2010-11, the Centre has collected about Rs 17,300 crore up to March last year whereas, during this period, the royalty received by the state is only about Rs 11,000 crore, he said.

Noting that the state government has been requesting for a share of at least 60 per cent of such funds to deal with negative externalities, Patnaik said this may be considered by the central government early.

The chief minister also urged Goyal to direct the Mahanadi Coalfields Ltd (MCL) to pay urgently the compensation amount of Rs 8297.77 crore towards the cost of about 180 million tonne of coal extracted in excess of the permissible limits under environment clearance.

In two underground mines, closed respectively since 1998 and 2006, the MCL has just completed sand stowing work of 5.38 lakh cubic metre against the total requirement of over 9.15 lakh cubic metre, he said.

“This non-completion of sand stowing continues to pose the threat of soil subsidence. It is requested that MCL may be advised to complete the balance sand stowing expeditiously,” the chief minister added.

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