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Odisha Makes Coal Cess Plea

Odisha Government has requested Ministry of Coal to release the amount of Additional Levy realized from various companies on account of cancellation of Coal Blocks.

The Government of India have realized Additional Levy with respect to coal extracted from the prior allottees of 31 cancelled Schedule-II Coal Mines in various States.

The Additional Levy of Rs.295 Per Metric Ton has been imposed in terms of provisions of the Coal Mines( Special Provisions) Ordinance 2014/Act 2015.

About Rs.560 was paid by HINDALCO on account of Talabira-I, a Schedule-II Coal Block situated in Odisha, which is a legitimate due of the State Government, pointed out a senior official.

Other State Governments like Chhattisgarh and West Bengal have also put forth similar claims.

Till date the amount due has not been transferred to the State although the matter was taken up by the Odisha Government with the Union Government.

However, there has been no arrangement to transfer the funds worth Rs.560 Crore to the State Government, admit officials.

Accordingly, Odisha Government has once again raised the issue with Ministry of Coal and has requested to release the amount, which is a legitimate claim of the State.

Raising another issue, the State Government has urged the Centre to rename the Cess collected from Coal as “Environment And Rehabilitation Cess” and earmark at least 60 Percent of the Cess for the Coal Bearing States.

Odisha, being a coal rich State is facing the brunt of Coal Mining and its adverse impact.

However the Union Government is collecting Cess and recently the Union Government has raised Clean Environment Cess on Coal from Rs.200 to Rs.400 Per Metric Ton.

Odisha Government had requested the Centre to share at least 60 Percent to the Coal Bearing States as they have to bear the cost of environmental degradation and rehabilitation.

This point was raised in several forums in general and in GST Council in particular.

However GST Council has decided that the entire amount of the Cess collected would be used for GST Compensation Fund.

While Coal Bearing States are facing the environmental issues, decision of GST Council will favor that all the States will share Coal Cess.

Under this backdrop, Odisha Government has requested Centre to rename the Cess as ‘Environment and Rehabilitation Cess’ so that Coal Bearing States will gain from the resources generated from Coal.

And at least 60 Percent of the Coal Cess are to be given to Coal Bearing States so that they will be able to make from environmental degradation and other climatic hazards.

In fact Odisha is heavily suffering due to climatic hazards and turned out to be a “Calamity Zone”, so looking at the plight of the State, Union Government is needed to consider the case, pointed out a senior official.