Demands for revision of coal royalty and special status to Odisha and Bihar dominated the Eastern Zonal Council meeting chaired by Union home minister Amit Shah here on Friday. Coal royalty was last revised in 2012 and the states of Odisha, West Bengal and Jharkhand, which produce the majority of coal in the country, have been demanding a greater share from the sale proceeds than the 14 per cent they currently get.
“There is an urgent need to revise royalty on coal and to share the proceeds of clean energy cess with the state governments,” a statement issued by the office of Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik, stated. Odisha has been demanding 60 per cent share in the national clean energy cess (collected from coal mining).
The states currently get 14 per cent royalty on the sale of coal. As per norms, the royalty should be revised every three years. But it has not been done in the past eight years. The states have been demanding that the royalty be increased to at least 20 per cent. Last month, the Centre constituted a committee to study the proposal of coal royalty revision.
Talking to reporters after the 24th meeting of the council, West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee said, “Odisha, Jharkhand and our state raised the issue of coal royalty revision. The Union home minister said there needs to be a policy decision on it.”
Besides Naveen and Mamata, Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar and Jharkhand finance minister Rameshwar Oraon attended the council meeting. Jharkhand chief minister Hemant Soren could not attend the meeting which coincided with the first day of the budget session in his state assembly.
Reiterating his demand to declare Odisha as a special focus state owing to its vulnerability from natural disasters, Naveen said, “Odisha has faced at least 18 natural calamities in the past 20 years