State governments have waived off stamp duty for companies which have been re-allocated coal blocks in order to start mining operations at the earliest, Coal Minister Piyush Goyal said in the Rajya Sabha on Monday.
In September 2014, the Supreme Court had cancelled the allocation of the 214 coal blocks. Later, NDA government auctioned the mines at a higher price. But the new owners did not start the production as the lease deed could not be executed because of higher stamp duty and registration fee.
"Since the mines were redistributed, there was a question if a stamp duty would apply on it or not. Both the Centre and the state governments discussed this issue. ... After careful deliberations, the states have decided to waive off stamp duty so that mining operations start early," Goyal said during the Question Hour in the Upper House.
"The question of any loss of revenue on account of registration and stamp duty to the state does not arise as the state governments earn revenue on coal removed or consumed by coal companies in the form of royalty/dead rent etc," he said.
On delay in mining operations pointed out by Congress leader Digvijaya Singh, the Minister said, "Many coal mines have not opened mainly due to court cases. We cannot interfere in court matters. Wherever court cases are not there, mining has started more or less." He added that there are 2-3 places, where states have to give mining leases. "We are in touch with them for that." To Singh's suggestion for setting up a coordination committee to resolve the issues related to coal, Goyal said, "There is already a central coordination-cum-empowered committee (CCEC) under the Mines Department to address the problems."
"The CCEC's last meeting was held on August 5 and this committee discusses about the mining activity. "As such, there is no need for constitution of a separate independent forum," he said. The Minister further said a coal project monitoring portal has been put in place. "We monitor it regularly. Coal allottees register complaints on portal. Coal Secretary and chief secretaries of all states discuss and resolve their grievances," he said. He added that there was no proposal to repeal the Coal Bearing (Acquisition and Development) Act, 1957. The land under the said Act is acquired by complying with all the provisions of the Act.
Responding to another query on fixing of royalty for coal, Goyal said, "We have not received the committee's report on this." However, the development works at local level can be done using the funds of the District Mineral Foundation, the Coal Minister said, adding that 30 per cent of the royalty is deposited in it.
To another query raised by NCP leader Praful Patel on mapping of natural resources, he said India has not done significant work with regard to mapping of natural resources.
"There is 34 lakh sq km (of land with natural resources), out of which 3 lakh sq km has been mapped. We are now considering to take up aero-mapping through satellite technology at least at G-4 level initially which will give up what is available where," he said.