Orissa seeks relook into mineral royalty, power purchase policies

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New Delhi, Dec 19 (UNI) Reiterating the demand for declaring Orissa as a ''special category state'' Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik today urged the Centre to reduce the ever-widening gaps between the rich and the poor states, by making some region-specific interventions.

Speaking at the National Development Council meeting, Mr Patnaik said Orissa, being one of the most debt-stressed states with very adverse socio-economic indicators, satisfies all criteria for special category status, except that it does not have an international boundary. He urged the Council to redefine the criteria and grant it the special status.

Pointing out that several Central policies have ''adversely impacted'' states like Orissa, he said Orissa and other mineral rich states have not been able to reap the full benefits of their endowments because of distortions in, and delayed implementation of, mineral royalty policies. These states are losing out substantially in resource generation potential for public investments as the rates of royalty are not being revised in time, he stressed.

He urged the Centre to make revision of royalty of coal and other major minerals at an interval of every three years and determine the rate of royalty at 20 per cent ad valorem, instead of the recently introduced hybrid system that does not compensate the mineral rich states.

He also pointed out that the export duty levied on iron ore and chrome ore, which is being distributed among all the states, should be fully passed on to the states having iron and chrome deposits.

''We should get adequate compensation for such exports as we bear the brunt of pollution and depletion of our natural resources,'' he said.

Also in the power segment, he said power producing states such as Orissa are being discriminated compared to power producing states in matters of revenue sharing.

''As the existing electricity laws do not allow power producing states to collect any tax from consumers outside the state, they bear the brunt of pollution and displacement of persons without any compensation, while the consuming states derive the cream of benefit,'' he said.

A Central law should be passed providing for levy of duty on generation of power by the Centre which can be passed on to the concerned state government and also allocate appropriate portion of power generated to the host state at variable cost.

Stating that as Orissa is in the process of achieving large scale industrialisation through mega-investments in steel, aluminium, cement and power generation, he called for Centre's support to the ''state's efforts by grounding prestigious Central institutes like IITs, IIMs in the state''.

There is also immediate need for high level of investment in infrastructure like roads, ports, railways, power generation etc, he said. ''My state has already put in place an approapriate public-private-partnership mechanism for infrastructure development.

But PPP alone cannot address the entire gamut of infrastructure requirements. Poor states like Orissa need greater investments in the non-PPP mode.'' Mr Patnaik said Orissa has proposed an outlay of Rs 32,225 crore and envisaged an average growth rate of nine per cent during the Eleventh Plan against 7.26 per cent achieved durig the first four years of the Tenth Plan.

Calling for enhancement in allocation of funds under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM), he said an allotment of Rs 231 crores was too meagre for the whole Mission period, as against the requirement of Rs 2,500 crore.

UNI

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