After Meghalaya Mine Tragedy, 2 Killed as Illegal Jharkhand Mine Caves in; Data Show Fatalities Are on The Rise

Data from the Ministry of Labour and Employment and news reports shows that at least 1,666 coal mine accidents happened between 2013 and 2016. Among these, as many as 261 were fatal accidents, causing at least 297 deaths.

At least two miners died after an illegal coal mine collapsed in Jharkhand’s Dhanbad on Wednesday, over a month after 15 miners got trapped in a ‘rat-hole’ mine in Meghalaya’s Khlooryngksan area.

A rescue operation in Jharkhand has been initiated as several miners are suspected to be trapped inside. Read more

In Kerala’s mining hotspot Alappad, the fear is not if sea will take village, but when

In a state with a rich history of potent environment movements, this beach sand mining, surprisingly, found little resistance. Until now.

In the tiny, charming fishing villages along the coast of the Arabian Sea in southern Kerala, the story goes that it’s famed mineral-rich black sand piqued the interest of the Germans when they noticed the unusual thickness of the ropes shipped from the southern Indian coast. Those days, the women, who worked in coir factories in these coastal villages, had the habit of mixing black sand, without knowing it’s worth, with coir to lend it strength. When the sand was disseminated, geologists chanced upon the presence of rare earth minerals like monazite, ilmenite, rutile and zircon which find application in the production of atomic fuel. Read more

Strengthen district mineral foundations’ administration, planning: suggests Mines Ministry

Down to Earth | Chinmayi Shalya | Jan 21, 2019

With around Rs 2.5 lakh crore accruals estimated in DMFs over next 25 years, it holds enormous potential for removing socio-economic deprivation of the mining-affected people

The Union Ministry of Mines (MoM) has put out a set of recommendations to improve implementation of District Mineral Foundation (DMF) in various mining districts of India:

Since DMF is a Trust, it must identify its beneficiaries, i.e. the mining-affected people
DMFs should undergo a bottom-up planning process and develop plans to address immediate and long-term needs of mining-affected people
Gram Sabhas should be engaged from very first stage in DMF planning
A dedicated DMF office for planning and co-ordination must be set-up in every mining district. The PMKKKY guideline already says that 5 per cent of the DMF funds can be used for such expense
A state-level monitoring committee must be set up to improve DMF functions
Each DMF Trust must also have in place a strong grievance redressal mechanism
DMFs should undertake performance and social audit, besides financial audit
Annual reports should be prepared by each DMF Trust and laid before the State Legislative Assembly
The recommendations were shared during the first national-level workshop on DMF and Pradhan Mantri Khanij Kheshtra Kalyan Yojana (PMKKKY), organised by MoM in New Delhi on January 18, 2019.

District collectors or district Magistrates, CEOs of zila parishads, officials from state mining departments including secretaries, senior officials of other central ministries, including ministry of health, women and child development, rural development, and others attended the meeting.

As indicated by MoM, the main objective of the workshop was to review implementation status of DMFs in various states and districts, and to consider strategies to address challenges in DMF implementation.

DMF has been instituted as a non-profit trust under the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Amendment Act 2015, with the precise objective to ‘work for the interest and benefit of persons, and areas affected by mining-related operations’.

It was born out of decade-long deliberations to address the socio-economic deprivation that people in mineral-bearing areas suffer from. DMFs come with the obligation to remove such deprivation through inclusive development and decision-making process.

As of now, DMF trusts have been set up in 557 districts across 21 states. The total amount accrued to DMFs considering all districts is more than Rs 23,000 crore. However, this is just the tip of the iceberg. The MoM further estimates an accrual of more than Rs 2.5 lakh crore in DMFs in the next 25 years.

The money in DMFs comes through statutory contribution from mining companies, which are required to pay an equivalent of 30 per cent of the royalty amount for leases granted before enactment of the 2015 Act, and 10 per cent for leases granted after that.

Speaking at the occasion, Union Minister of Mines Narendra Singh Tomar said the money can bring significant relief to mining-affected regions and people. He noted that to ensure this, the districts should have target-based projects and should focus on timely deliveries.

Potential can be wasted

“As we enter the fifth year of DMF implementation, it is time we sort out the planning and implementation issues. Without a bottom-up and systematic planning process and proper institutional structure, DMF will not be able to deliver. We also need the involvement of the beneficiaries in planning and monitoring to make DMF transparent and accountable,” says Chandra Bhushan, deputy director general of Delhi-based Centre for Science and Environment (CSE).

CSE has been following the implementation of DMF in key mining states and districts across India. A study released by CSE in July 2018, which reviewed DMF administration, accountability and investment trends across 50 top mining districts, showed that poor planning and administration is leading to ad-hoc use of DMF funds, and is not resulting in benefits for mining-affected people as needed.

The MoM has also taken note of the situation and recommended strengthening of DMF administration, planning and accountability instruments to improve implementation.

The government is also considering improving the PMKKKY guidelines, which essentially outlines some of the key administrative and investment issues that DMFs must consider and is part of all state DMF Rules.

Mahanadi Study Report released at Raipur, calls for interstate cooperation!

Raipur: At a time when the dispute between Odisha and Chhattisgarh governments over Mahanadi waters is rife and that is being heard by a Tribunal, participants attending a roundtable held at Raipur to release an important study report on the dispute have urged upon the governments to keep the doors to dialogue open. “It is high time governments of both the states came together to build a cooperation framework to address the issue”, said noted water expert Ranjan Panda, who has authored this study titled ‘Mahanadi: Coal Rich, Water Stressed.’ He was addressing a group of participants including academicians, politicians, civil society representatives, eminent citizens, activists and community members at a roundtable organized by Heinrich Boll Foundation, New Delhi and Mahanadi River Waterkeeper at Raipur today. Read more

Help us curb illegal coal mining

Help us curb illegal coal mining. The Khanan-Prahari Mobile Application has been developed to help you report any illegal coal mining incident in your area through geo-tagged photographs as well as textual information. Click here for video

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