Odisha seeks 60% share from clean environment cess

Odisha has demanded 60 per cent revenue share from the collection of clean environment cess on coal produced in the state.

Odisha minister for energy Pranab Prakash Das made this demand in the state power ministers' meet in Goa today.

The Centre, which doubled the clean environment cess rate to Rs 400 per tonne of coal in the last budget, is expected to collect Rs 6,400 crore towards this levy from the state in 2016-17.

Das argued that the collected amount will mostly be used to promote renewable energy development in other states without any commensurate benefit to Odisha. The state, on the other hand, will bear the brunt of coal mining such as environmental degradation, land degradation, loss of flora and fauna and health hazards to people in the surrounding areas of mines.

"Hence, in all fairness, the clean energy cess should rather be used for environment protection and rehabilitation and at least 60 per cent of the proceeds of such funds should be shared with the state government to deal with negative externalities of coal mining. This would ensure sharing of coast and benefits by states in an equitable manner", the minister said.

At the meet, Das also sought allocation of Chhendipada and Chhendipada II coal blocks in favour of Odisha Thermal Power Corporation (OPTCL), which is setting up a 2,400-Mw (3x800 Mw) power station in Dhenkanal district. In 2013, OPTCL was allocated Tentuloi deposits, an underground coal mine, for its power project. But as this block was found to be technically and economically unviable, the state owned firm had surrendered it and requested for allocation of alternative open-cast coal mines.

The minister urged the Centre not to curtail fund allocation under Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana (DDUGJY) and Integrated Power Development Scheme (IPDS) which may hit rural electrification and system improvement work in the state. Odisha stands to lose Rs 2417.27 crore under these two schemes if fund allocations are made against the detail project report prepared for the state. He also rued the change in Centre-State sharing of funds under DDUGJY and IPDS from 90:10 to 60:40 saying it has put additional financial burden on the state.

He reiterated state's request to the Union power ministry for de-allocation of Odisha's share from all upcoming NTPC stations located outside the state except North Karanpur. As the state is already power surplus, drawal of high cost power from these stations would unnecessarily push up the tariff for consumers in the state, he pleaded.

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