Patnaik asks Centre to revise coal royalty rates to 20 per cent

Bhubaneswar: Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Sunday requested the Centre to expedite the revision of coal royalty rates from 14 per cent to 20 per cent as the state “continues to bear the brunt of the adverse effect of mining on the environment besides increased strain on water resources and infrastructure coupled with the displacement of people”.

In a letter to Union minister of Coal and Railways Piyush Goyal, Patnaik said, “It is very disheartening to learn that the final recommendation of the Study Group on coal royalty revision submitted last year is still under consideration of the Central Government. It is once again requested that the Central Government May expedite the 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 percent to 20 percent.”

“The state continues to bear the brunt of the adverse effect of coal mining on the environment beside increased strain on water resourced and infrastructure coupled with the displacement of people,” he added.

Patnaik pointed out that the rate of royalty on coal has remained unchanged for the last six years, 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.

He also requested the central government to increase the share of the state to at least 60 per cent to “deal with the negative externalities.”

“The central government has collected about 17,300 crores up to March 2018 whereas during this period the royalty received by the state is only about Rs 11,000 crore. The state government has been requesting for a share of at least 60 per cent of such funds to deal with negative externalities”

The Chief Minister also alleged Mahanadi Coalfields Ltd, which is a CIL subsidiary operating in Odisha, extracted coal in excess of the permissible limits under environment clearance. He also asked the Centre to direct MCL to pay the overstanding Rs 8297.77 crores as a “compensation amount for extracting extra coal.”