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Larger consultation needed to decide on coal royalty revision:

Press Trust of India  |  Bhubaneswar 

Coal Minister Pralhad Joshi on Friday said there is a need for "larger consultation" before deciding on the revision of coal royalty, as the matter is directly linked to power tariff and increase in royalty may affect electricity consumers across the country.

After a meeting with Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik here, Joshi said the Centre will look at the demand of the state for upward revision of coal royalty.

"I have briefed the chief minister about coal royalty revision. It is linked to power tariff. He has given a representation. It needs larger consultation because whatever we apply or decide will be applicable for the entire country," he said.

Many coal bearing states including Odisha have been demanding revision of coal royalty from the present 14 per cent to 20 per cent.

The Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act permits revision of royalty on coal every three years, but it has remained unchanged for the last six years, Patnaik told the Union minister during the meeting.

The chief minister drew Joshi's attention on the fact that the final recommendation of the study group on coal royalty revision was still under consideration of the central government, though it was submitted to it way back on February 5, 2018, sources said.

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

Asked about Odisha's concern of losing a huge amount due to non-revision of the coal royalty rates, Joshi said, "We have introduced the DMF four years ago. The state is getting 4.2 per cent on that. I have also brought it to the chief minister's notice. It is a larger issue for the country."

The District Mineral Foundation (DMF) is a trust set up as a non-profit body to work for the interest of people and areas affected by mining related operations.

To a question on the lapse of mining leases, Joshi, also the minister of mines, said the steel industries would not face any shortage of raw material after March 31, 2020.

He said steel producers will get raw materials through PSUs and other sources.

Some steel makers recently expressed concern over the possible shortage of raw materials after expiry of leases of over 300 mines across the country including 24 in Odisha by end of the current fiscal.

Joshi and Patnaik also discussed issues such as law and order problem at mines of Mahanadi Coalfields Limited and how to increase its production.

The state government also pointed out that the rate of clean energy cess, levied on coal by the central government, has been raised, but the coal bearing states have been getting royalty at the old rate.

The Union minister agreed to the need for comprehensive development of the coal mining areas with a joint concerted effort, sources said.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Fri, November 08 2019. 18:05 IST