Rs 70 cr mineral royalty lost

The State loses over Rs 70 crore every year because of the non-revision of royalty on minerals. However, companies extracting mineral ore have been making a killing in the market. According to the state government, it was the duty of the Centre to revise the royalty rates. But it had not done so. Officials of mines and geology department said the companies which take the mineral-rich areas on lease have been paying the same royalty since 2004. For instance, companies have been paying only Rs 11 to Rs 27 for each tonne of iron ore they extract. They sell it at Rs 2,500 per tonne in the open market. Over 75 million tonnes of iron ore is exported every year to various parts of the country from AP. Now, the government has asked the Centre to increase the royalty of iron ore to at least Rs 50 per tonne. The same is the case with limestone which is the raw material for cement factories. The cement companies pay a mere Rs 45 as royalty per tonne. Around 30 lakh metric tonnes of limestone is being mined every year. The royalty rates were fixed when a cement bag of 50 kg cost around Rs 130. Now the same quantity costs Rs 220 but the royalty rates have not been revised. The government has asked the Centre to enhance the royalty at least by 20 per cent on limestone. The department got Rs 1,250 crore as royalty on industrial minerals and another Rs 500 crore from other minerals. Mr V.D. Rajagopal, director of AP Mines and Geology department, told this correspondent that the state would benefit a lot if the union government revised royalty rates.

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