BHUBANESWAR: Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has reacted sharply to the rejection of the demand for according special category state (SCS) status to Odisha and Centre’s opinion on the proposal for imposition of mineral resources rent tax (MRRT) on profit-making mine owners.
The reply of Union Minister of State for Mines Dinsha J Patel to the proposal for levying of MRRT is nothing but a version of the mining lobby, he said in statement.
In a separate statement, Naveen said the fact that the State has been performing well in the last decade in terms of growth and poverty reduction should not be used against the Government for denying SCS status to Odisha. The State will continue to fight for its share, he said. Deputy Chairman of Planning Commission Montek Singh Ahluwalia said on Friday here that there was no such proposal under consideration. On the mineral rent tax issue, Patel said it needs further study. Replying to Naveen’s letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in this regard, Patel said it needs to be assessed properly whether there is super profit from iron ore trade in mineral-rich states like Odisha having very poor infrastructure.
Naveen said Patel’s reply is a dilatory tactic to defer collection of additional tax from super-rich mine owners on the pretext of royalty revision and amendment of the Mines and Minerals Development and Regulation (MMDR) Act which will take a long time.
The State Government has enough data to show that the mine owners are making abnormally high profits and if the Centre is serious about benefitting the people of the affected areas, it should immediately impose the proposed tax instead helping the mine owners to make money everyday, he said.
On the issue of the SCS, Naveen said the Government is asking for it for a long time. Besides ignoring the State’s demand for SCS, the Planning Commission has not even cared to continue with the KBK region plan from the next year onwards, he said.
Criticising the Centre for announcing a package for a neighbouring state, Naveen said in a federal country like India, the Centre cannot afford to ignore balanced regional development.