10 March 2019
Bhubaneswar: Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik slammed the Centre for 'still considering' the coal royalty revision. In a letter to Coal Minister Piyush Goyal, Naveen stated, the Centre's intention on the issue was 'disheartening' and urged the Minister to revise rate of coal royalty from 14 percent to 20 percent.
Odisha produces one-fifth of the total coal in India. 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, said Naveen.
While the rate of royalty on coal has remained unchanged for the last six years, the rate of clean energy cess levied on coal has been raised from Rs 50 to Rs 400 per tonne during the period. Since, introduction of clean energy cess on coal from 2010-11, the Central Government has collected about Rs 17,300 up March 2018, whereas during this period, the royalty received by the State is only Rs 11,000 crore.
“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,” he added.
Similarly, the profit before tax 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. "MCL may be directed to make the said payment urgently," Naveen's letter stated.
MCL, operating in Odisha, 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, MCL has just completed 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 adivsed to complete the balance sand stowing expeditiously," Naveen added in the letter.