Federal Coal Minister Pralhad Joshi met Odisha Chief Minister Navin Patnaik on Friday at the latter’s residence in Bhubaneswar. Some demands were made by the state government, including the establishment of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in the tribal-dominated Sundergarh.

Along with AIIMS, CM Patnaik has demanded the activation of the integrated campus of a 500-bed hospital and 100-seat medical college in Sundergarh which has already been completed by NTPC.

The BJD government had earlier written to the center regarding the same matter. The Prime Minister said that in view of Sundergarh’s contribution to the country’s energy security and in the production of steel and iron ore, the Union Government must step forward to meet the long-standing demands of the people for AIIMS.

Patnaik also asked Joshi for the early operation of MCL Medical College and Hospital in Talcher, where the infrastructure is ready for a long time, which will benefit the residents of Dhenkanal and Angul.

During the discussion, the Cabinet raised the issue of clean energy tax and demanded at least 60 per cent of the taxes collected from Odisha.

In 2020-21 Odisha produced 153.85 million tons of coal contributing about 25 percent of the country’s production.

The center collects a clean energy tax of Rs 400 per ton which amounts to more than Rs 50,000 crore. Thus, 60 per cent of the income tax will give Odisha an amount of Rs 30,000 crore, which can be used for the economic development of the coal mining areas and the people affected.

Besides, it will speed up the development of Odisha in the wake of the COVID-19 situation, Patnaik added. The meeting was also attended by Federal Minister of State for Railways, Coal and Mines Rushib Patel Dhanvi.

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