Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Oct 25:
On the face of repeated demands by Odisha for a hike in coal royalty, Union Coal Secretary Anil Swarup today made it clear that there are no plans before the Center to revise the royalty – at least for the time being.
Speaking to reporters in Bhubaneswar today, Swarup said, “Hike in coal royalty will be a decision that will have repercussions at the national level. It applies to all the states. We believe that the royalty rates at this point in time are quite okay.”
“It is not changed based on the demands of state governments. Any increase in royalty will increase the cost of coal and that will lead to increase in cost of power. So, ultimately it will impact the common man and hence, at least at this point in time, there is no consideration before the Government of India to increase the royalty,” he added after meeting Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik at the state Secretariat today.
Reacting to Swarup’s statement, Odisha Mining Minister Prafulla Mallick said that the Center should consider options to compensate the state if royalty hike is not an option.
“The coal royalty should have been increased back in 2015. It is running behind the schedule for over a year. If they are not going to increase royalty, they need to consider other options to compensate the coal producing states,” said Mallick.
It may be mentioned here that Patnaik on July 5 had sought the intervention of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to increase royalty on coal and release 60 per cent share of Clean Environment Cess to coal-bearing states. Besides, he had taken up the issue with Finance Minister Arun Jaitley during his recent trip to New Delhi.