The Odisha government has joined West Bengal and Chhattisgarh to claim Rs 6,801-crore additional levy collected by the Centre from 31 coal blocks, which were cancelled in the last two years.
“The money should be distributed among the states where these cancelled coal blocks are located,” the state government told the Centre. It has suggested that the Centre would come out with an advisory to the ministry of coal for release of the claimed amount to the respective state at the earliest.
The Union coal ministry has collected Rs 6,801 crore by way of additional levy at the rate of R295 per tonne. In fact, the Supreme Court, while directing the Centre for the cancellation of coal blocks, had accepted the Comptroller and Auditor General’s (CAG) suggestion for realisation of additional levy from the companies holding the coal blocks.
“The Odisha government is entitled to get Rs 560-crore additional levy payable by Hindalco on account of Talabira-I,” said a senior official of the state steel & mines department. He said that even as other coal-bearing states like West Bengal and Chhattisgarh have also put forth their claims on this count, the amount has not been transferred to the state governments so far.
The state government has also urged the Centre for a revision of coal royalty as it is due for over two years. The last revision was on May 10, 2012 and the next revision was due in 2015. The current rate of royalty on coal is 14% ad valorem and the average realisation of royalty on coal in Odisha is about Rs 115 per tonne. Even as the Centre has constituted a ‘study group’ to consider revision of royalty rate on 21 July 2014, there has not been any significant progress so far to expedite the matter, said the officer.
The state government has also suggested the ‘clean environment cess’ collected at a rate of Rs 400 per tonne be shared with the coal-bearing states. The Centre is likely to get about Rs 12,000 crore per annum from the coal cess.