Petroleum minister refutes Odisha claim of Centre’s apathy

Bhubaneswar: Refuting Odisha government’s allegation of Central negligence, Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan on Saturday said state would benefit immensely from some decisions and earn additional Rs 2 lakh crore over and above royalty due to coal block auction.

“The BJP-led government has taken 2-3 Odisha-centric decisions which would benefit the state immensely. Ruling BJD is simply resorting to shadow boxing while alleging negligence by Centre,” Pradhan told reporters here.

While successive Congress governments at the Centre had neglected Odisha, BJP has always backed the state with due honour towards federal principles, he said adding around Rs 1 lakh crore would be invested in petroleum sector in the state in next five to seven years.

Stating that mineral royalty was hiked by Narendra Modi government in a proactive manner benefitting Odisha in a big way, Pradhan said provisions for the state were also raised substantially in railway budget.

Referring to the policy of coal block allocation through tendering process, the Union Minister claimed Odisha would get an additional Rs 1.5 lakh crore to Rs 2 lakh crore over and above royalty in next 15-20 years as the mechanism is based on 100 per cent profit sharing.

Pradhan’s remarks came a day after Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik accused the Centre of neglecting the state while addressing BJD’s foundation day function yesterday.

Taking a dig at Odisha Government for raising VAT on petrol and diesel by 3 per cent, the BJP leader said it was not an ideal arrangement as high tax rates always lead to reduced volume of business.