Demand to raise royalty on coal in Rajya Sabha

Demands to raise royalty on coal, roll back of steep hike in airfares between Kerala and Gulf region and government intervention to help release fishermen captured by Pakistan were among issues raised during the 'Zero Hour' in Rajya Sabha on Monday.

Amar Patnaik (BJD) said the rate of royalty paid to state governments on coal produced in states was last changed in April 2012 and as per rule was due to be revised in April 2015 but was not done.

The issue was placed before the GST Council but is yet to be approved, he said, adding instead a cess was imposed which goes to indivisible pool that is not devolved to states.

He demanded that royalty on coal should be raised to 20 per cent from the current 12 per cent.

K.K Ragesh (CPI(M)) demanded roll back in steep hike in airfares in the Kerala-Gulf sector which, he said, was a "loot" by airlines by exploiting migrant workers.

While the Calicut-Dubai flight costs Rs 6,000, a Dubai to Calicut flight costs Rs 40,000, he said, adding airfares are jacked up during festive seasons and holidays when migrant workers seek to return to their hometown.