SC-appointed retired judge reviews DMF fund utilisation

Keonjhar: Retired justice AK Patnaik, nominated by the Supreme Court, arrived at Keonjhar Wednesday and started reviewing how District Mineral Foundation (DMF) funds were utilised for various projects in the district.

Patnaik was accompanied by the commissioner of the health department, the director of OPEPA and the special secretary of the SC/ST development department.

In the evening, they held a review meeting on utilisation of the DMF funds at Durbar Hall. Patnaik also took stock of healthcare facilities, help desk, CT scan, dialysis and other amenities being provided to patients at the district headquarters hospital.

Patnaik talked to doctors at the DHH about the healthcare facility.

He also visited the under-construction building of the government medical college and hospital at Kabitra.

He will review implementation of a project for ensuring livelihood of mining-affected people; a drinking water project at Hatidari, two other projects at Kodagadia and Mirigisinga; the model school at Lahanda, a 50-bed maternity hospital, apart from taking stock of issues like air pollution in Joda mining areas.

Patnaik will also visit several villages under Joda and Jhumpura blocks to see mega drinking water projects at 126 villages.

Courtesy: Odisha Post

Mining firms stop school buses, 70 kids stuck at home

PANAJI: Around 70 children in Sonshi, and several others in the state’s mining belt, are unable to go to school as mining companies, after their operations came to a standstill following the Supreme Court order, stopped providing them transport.

It is the state government’s responsibility in these circumstances to immediately provide free transport to these schoolchildren as also water to these areas, Ashok Shrimali of the voluntary organisation mines, minerals and people said. Read more

TimesView Mining areas like Sonshi have always faced the brunt of government neglect, first when they were being smothered in pollution and now when their children have been deprived school bus service and are forced to stay home. The government provides buses to aided schools under the Bal Rath scheme, why does it not extend the scheme to government schools as economically underprivileged children are more likely to go to these schools.
“We held a daylong workshop today with mining affected people from across Goa and the main issues affecting them presently is no transport for their children to go to school and lack of water. Mining companies have stopped providing both as their operations have shut. They say they are now contributing towards the district mineral foundation (DMF) instead,” Ravindra Velip of mines, minerals and people said.

Velip said it is shameful that children are unable to go to school because of lack of transport. “It is the primary responsibility of the state government to provide these basic requirement and they should do so immediately. The state cannot wash its hands off the responsibility,” he added.

Shrimali said that the state government also urgently needs to carry out a study on the groundwater situation in the mining belt.

“Goa has a DMF of about Rs 186 crore, of which Rs 10 crore have been utilised so far. When we checked the ground reality, we were informed that due to mismanagement the Rs 10 crore which was spent has failed to benefit the affected community,” said Shirmali.

Courtesy: The Times of India

70 children of Sonshi village in Goa struck in homes as mining dumps have made roads inaccessible

By Sayantani Sarkar

Samata and mines minerals and people (mm&P) organized a District Level Consultation on Children in Mining Area, Illegal Mining, District Mineral Fund (DMF) and Future Generation Fund in collaboration with SETU at Honda Panchayat, Sattari, Goa on 22nd December’ 2018.

The Consultation witnessed the presence of total 62 participants comprising of local government representatives like Panchayat Members, Sarpanch, community members from Sonshi, Soyle, Pissurle and Honda, members of Civil Society Organizations, and Women’ s Groups and Self-Help Groups (SHGs).

There were discussions on the overview of mining throughout the country, various stages of mining, illegal mining, Samata Judgement, situation of children in the mining areas and consequences on their education, health affected due to air and water pollution, malnutrition issues etc., and the need for lobbying National Level regarding Child Rights as they are being violated.

There were discussions on the situation of children in mining areas and it was said that “mining children are nobody’s children and are falling through the cracks” as they are mostly ignored by all the concerned child welfare departments, govt. authorities unaware of the mining children’s inclusion in the respective departments. There is a confusion and lack of clarity as in which department the children in the mining areas should be included and what basic facilities and amenities should be provided to them.

The community people of Sonshi shared that around 70 children of the village and the surrounding villages are struck in their homes and unable to go to school as mining companies after the mining operations came to a standstill following a Supreme Court order, stopped providing the children transport and the roads are inaccessible due to mining dumps placed near the villages. Secretary General of mm&P Ashok Shrimali said that “this is violation of the Right to Education Act and it is the state government’s responsibility to provide free transport for school.”

There were elaborative discussions on District Mineral Fund (DMF), its formation, implementation in all the states and lack of public awareness on the functioning of the DMF. It was found that people are unaware of the DMF which is meant to be utilized for the betterment of the mining affected communities and the funds collected are to be utilized to provide basic amenities like drinking water, sanitation, education, health and environmental conservation and preservation. It was also noticed that there was no community participation of the mining affected communities at the planning, formulation and implementation stage.

Shrimali stated that as per the information available, Goa has about Rs. 186 crore under DMF of which Rs. 10 crore has been utilized. However the ground reality is that due to mismanagement of funds, the amount spent has not benefitted the mining affected communities.

Executive Council Member of mm&P, Goa Ravindra Velip, said that no district has developed a comprehensive DMF plan to ensure need- based investments in mining affected areas. He alleged that while the role of gram sabhas and panchayats are sidelined, no beneficiaries are identified under the scheme.

Courtesy: Counterview

District Mineral Fund collections top ₹22,800 cr

Business Line | Dec 21, 2018

Slow pace of utilisation raises fears of diversion
The Pradhan Mantri Khanij Kshetra Kalyan Yojna (PMKKY) has accrued ₹22,859 crore till November, but what has been utilised is around ₹5,529 crore. The slow pace of District Mineral Fund (DMF) utilisation has fed fears of these funds being diverted by State governments for being spent in other regions or for other purposes too.

The condition worsens in States like Jharkhand where ₹471.98 crore were collected from Chatra district till October but have translated into sanctioned expenditure of just ₹93.46 crore and an incurred expenditure of ₹28.73 crore.

The highest DMF contributions have been reported from Odisha at ₹5,599.5 crore. Chhattisgarh comes second at ₹3,223.80 crore and Jharkhand comes third at ₹3,319.01 crore. The PMKKY was launched in September 2015 to provide for the welfare of areas and people affected by mining related operations, using the funds generated by DMFs. The DMFs were to be funded by earmarking 10 per cent or 30 per cent of the royalty proceeds from the minerals that were produced in these districts.

Of all the funds accrued, 60 per cent have to be spent for drinking water supply, health care, sanitation, education, skill development, women and child care, welfare of aged and disabled people, skill development and environment conservation.

The balance funds are to be spent on making roads, bridges, railways, waterways projects, irrigation and alternative energy sources.

According to officials in the Ministry of Mines, the pace of DMF utilisation is expected to improve as mineral rich state governments are now assured of collectively getting around ₹700 crore every month through the DMF.

“The sustained income for States can help better planning of fund expenditure by the state governments,” a Mines Ministry official told BusinessLine.

“The DMF is meant to foot the bill for development activities in mining affected districts. That diversion of funds will not be allowed without the approval of the centre and such a situation will arise only when all development activities of a district have been completed,” he added.

Concern over poor implementation of district mineral fund in Indian states

In spite of the Mines Minerals Development and Regulation (MMDR) Act, 2015, giving instructions to respective state governments to form District Mineral Fund (DMF) Trust, it has taken almost 3 years for most of the states to set it up and frame rules. Worse, its implementation is still lagging, and most people still do not have any clue about what is DMF and that it exists.

Highlighting this at a state-level consultation on Children in Mining Area, Illegal Mining and District Mineral Fund (DMF), organized on December 16 by civil rights organizations, Samata, and mines minerals and people (mm&P), and collaborated by local organizations Jan Sangram Parishat and Sakhi Trust at Ballari, Karnataka, secretary-general mm&P Ashok Shrimali appealed to the Union and State Governments to create awareness among the people about DMF, its process and implementation.

Shirmali urged state governments to involve the affected people in the process of planning and implementation of projects regarding the utilization of DMF funds. He highlighted that “planning process should start from the grass-roots level, after mapping the issues covering various aspects that would be for the benefit of the posterity.”

Youth leader from Sandur, Amreesh and Kondamma, a participant and representative from the mining affected community, stated that women and vulnerable communities like SC/ST should have representation in DMF planning, execution and implementation stages. They also emphasized that DMF funds should be utilized only for the betterment and rehabilitation of the mining affected communities and not for infrastructure purposes.

In the context of Karnataka, it was reflected that after the formation of DMF, Rs 1,220 crore had been collected from the mining firms till October 2018, of which the highest was from Ballari Rs 748 crore. The DMF has proposed 1,451 works estimated at Rs 638 crore, while the expenditure till date has been a mere Rs 48 crore.

— Sayantani Sarkar, Samata

Courtesy: Counterview

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