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Naveen to meet Modi

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik is scheduled to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi tomorrow at New Delhi, where he is likely to discuss about burning issues related to the state’s interest.

This will be the second meet of Patnaik with Modi after the latter became the Prime Minister. He met Modi on June 2 along with his party MPs.

Though the agenda of the meeting is not disclosed yet, sources said, the state government may raise issues such as its long standing demand on according Odisha special category state status, submergence of large tracts of land in Odisha due to Polavaram project in Andhra Pradesh, impact on power sector due to cancellation of coal blocks, operation of international flights from Bhubaneswar airport, imposition of Mineral Resource Rent Tax on mine owners and necessary assistance to fight naxal menace in the border districts of the state.

Earlier, the state’s demand for revision of royalty on minerals has been acceded by the Centre.

The recent Supreme Court verdict has resulted in cancelation of 25 blocks in Odisha. Out of 32 blocks allotted in the state between 1993 and 2010, seven blocks were de-allocated earlier. Though there is no immediate threat to power production scenario in Odisha, the long term impacts could be severe, feel the experts.

Based on abundant coal reserves, the state government had signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with 28 independent power producers (IPP), who had committed investments to the tune of over Rs 1 lakh crore, envisaging a total generation capacity of 37,510 Mw with the state share being 5,887 Mw. The IPPs have already grounded investment of Rs 30,000 crore on their projects.

On the basis of their investment commitments, coal blocks were allocated to 10 IPPs, while 10 others had obtained coal linkages. However, none of the coal blocks allocated to the power producers was able to commence mining owing to delay in obtaining the necessary clearances.

As of now, three IPPs have commissioned their projects with a combined capacity of 4,050 Mw, with the state being entitled to a share of 947 Mw from these units. The projects that have gone into generation include Vedanta Group firm Sesa Sterlite (2,400 Mw) at Bhurkamunda near Jharsuguda, GMR Kamalanga (1,050 Mw) at Kamalanga near Dhenkanal and Jindal India Thermal Power (600 Mw) at Derang near Angul. All the three power producers are running their plants on linked coal supplies from Mahanadi Coalfields Ltd, a subsidiary of Coal India. Similarly, the state government is facing difficulties in running international flights from the Bhubaneswar airport, due to lack of support from the Union Aviation ministry. The Biju Patnaik International Airport has remained a non-starter ever since its upgradation from domestic airport in October 2013.

The state government has sought permission for Dubai-based low cost carrier flydubai to start international flights from Bhubaneswar. It has also pitched for starting an international flight by state carrier Air India and wrote letters to the Union ministry in this regard.

Patnaik is also likely to impress upon Modi to expedite statutory clearances for some big ticket investments like that of Posco and Vedanta. Among others, identifying one smart city in Odisha and assistance to combat naxal activities could be discussed during the meeting, sources said.


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