By Our Correspondent
BHUBANESWAR: Union Coal and Mines, Pralhad Joshi, who was on a State visit, on Friday, met Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik in Bhubaneswar. Among others, Prafulla Kumar Mallik, Minister, Steel & Mines, Odisha, and senior officials of the Central Government and State Government were present in the meeting.
During the meeting, Chief Minister reiterated the demands of the State Government that the rates of royalty should be increased and the State Government should get a share from the cess collected on coal by the Central Government.
Non-coal bearing areas to be denotified and in the notified areas comprehensive development should be taken up by MCL. Quick implementation of the decisions of the RPDAC by the MCL authorities was stressed in the meeting. Union Minister agreed to the need for comprehensive development of the coal mining areas with a joint concerted effort. Law and order and R&R issues of coal mining areas were also discussed in the meeting.
“The Chief Minister has given a representation to me on coal royalty revision. I have briefed the Chief Minister that it is linked to power tariff. It’s a larger policy decision since whatever decision is taken it will be applicable to the entire country,” Joshi told reporters after his meeting with the Chief Minister at the Lok Seva Bhawan in Bhubaneswar
He, however, added that the Centre will be looking into it.Responding to a media query on Odisha’s claim that the State exchequer has already lost Rs 10,000 crore on account of non-revision of royalty on minerals, the Union Minister said, “Since last four years we have introduced District Mineral Fund (DMF) by which all State governments are getting 4.2%, I have brought it to the notice of the Chief Minister”.
When asked by reporters on the government’s plans vis-a-vis ending of the lease period of 24 major mines in Odisha by March 31, 2020, Joshi said that the government has decided to recap the production through some public sector units (PSUs)and some other arrangement is already being worked out.”And we will see to it that there is no shortage of mineral in the country,” he added.
The Union Minister informed that he had a very productive meeting with the Chief Minister on how to increase production in Mahanadi Coalfields Ltd (MCL).”The chief minister was very kind and he has given instructions to the officers to look into the various issues including some of the land issues and some small issues of law and order.
He has really assured all cooperation to increase production in MCL,” the Union Minister said.Joshi stated that the Chief Minister had raised the issue of transfer of some mines from one PSU to another PSU and he has requested the Chief Minister to sent the proposal which will be considered positively.He further said that he has assured the Chief Minister to resolve certain local issues raised by him within 15 days.