DMF funds for pandemic treatment

The Hindu | May 13, 2021

The Mines and Geology Department has allowed Dakshina Kannada district administration to utilise funds available under the District Mineral Foundation (DMF) for purchase of oxygen tankers, medicines and other health related items needed to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic.

The department has decided to consider similar demands from other districts.

The decision was taken after BJP State President Nalin Kumar Kateel appealed to Mines and Geology Minister Murugesh Nirani seeking utilisation of funds under DMF owing to fund crunch faced by the authorities. Mr. Kateel recently spoke to Mr. Nirani and requested him to allow the district to use funds under DMF for purchase of emergency medical needs such as oxygen tankers which are essential to stock oxygen and transport it to hospitals treating COVID patients.

A note from Mr. Nirani’s office said that the Karnataka government had set up the DMF for development of mining-ravaged districts in the State. The funds can be used for welfare schemes such as health, pollution control, women and child development, drinking water supply, sanitation, education, skill development, power generation and irrigation, the note said.

Rs. 20 crore from Mineral Fund spent on roads, water projects

The Hindu | May 11, 2021

The East Godavari District Committee on District Mineral Fund (DMF) on Monday accepted a proposal to allocate funds for the seven rural water supply works and repairs of the Tuni-Kattipudi road, during a virtual meeting headed by Collector D. Muralidhar Reddy.

Joint Collector (Revenue) G. Lakshmisha and Sub-Collectors at Amalapuram and Rajamahendravaram and Project Officers at Rampachodavaram and Chintoor participated in the meeting.

“A total of Rs. 20 crore fund from the Rs. 32.89 crore District Mineral Fund has been spent on various developmental works including roads, water and health in the areas where the mining activities have been permitted,” said Mr. Muralidhar.

The government collects fund from the mining companies and agencies engaged in the mining of various mineral resources in the district. The committee has allocated Rs. 2.64 crore for the seven rural water supply projects at Rajanagaram Assembly segment. Officials have been directed to speed up the proposed works.

BJP seeks white paper on Covid management expenditure

The New Indian Express | May 11, 2021
The objective of creating separate funds for DMF and OMBADC is to bring in transformation in the lives of the people affected by intensive mining activities.

BHUBANESWAR: Even as the ruling BJD has urged the Centre to release the second instalment of the untied grants of 15th Finance Commission for 2021-22 to rural local bodies (RLBs), the BJP on Monday demanded a white paper from the State government on expenditure made on management of second wave of Covid-19.

Claiming that Odisha government’s coffers are empty, State BJP vice president Bhrugu Baxipatra said the expenditure so far made for Covid management in the State was borne out of the funds available under Central grants and assistance, National Disaster Response Fund (NDRF), Chief Minister’s Relief Fund (CMRF), District Mineral Foundation (DMF) Trust fund, Odisha Mineral Bearing Area Development Corporation (OMBADC) and corporate social responsibility (CSR).

“Let the State government make its budgetary provision for Covid management for the current fiscal, expenditure so far made and the sources of funding to fight the pandemic public,” Baxipatra said. The BJP has been asking the State government to give a detailed account of expenditure made to fight the pandemic in 2020-21. The government tried its best to reply to several questions put forward by BJP legislators in the budget session of the Assembly.

The objective of creating separate funds for DMF and OMBADC is to bring in transformation in the lives of the people affected by intensive mining activities. Since there are huge deposits in the two specially designed funds, the State government is misutilising the funds to gain chip political mileage, said the BJP leader.

The State government had no problem on financial front last year. “It splurged money like anything without seeking any Central assistance. Sarpanchs were given the powers of district Collector. We fail to understand why the same government has taken a U-turn when the Covid situation across the State is worsening and people are crying for immediate medical assistance,” he said.

Panel to probe limestone mine blast in Kadapa; 10 lakh each to kin

The New Indian Express | May 10, 2021
In a press release, the minister said the inquiry committee, headed by Kadapa Joint Collector (Revenue), will conduct a detailed probe into the mishap.

KADAPA: Minister for Panchayat Raj and Mines Peddireddy Ramachandra Reddy formed a high-level committee with officials from five departments to probe Mamillapalle limestone mine blast, which claimed 10 lives. The committee was directed to submit a report in five days. Meanwhile, Rs 10 lakh was announced as immediate financial assistance to the bereaved families, from the District Mineral Foundation Trust.

In a press release, the minister said the inquiry committee, headed by Kadapa Joint Collector (Revenue), will conduct a detailed probe into the mishap. Citing a preliminary report submitted by the Kadapa district Collector, Peddireddy said negligence on part of the mine operator while unloading the explosive material (gelatin sticks) caused the explosion.

While one C Kasturibai secured the mining lease in 2001 till November 1, 2021, it has been operated by C Nageswara Reddy under a general power of attorney since December 2013. The minister said rules of handling explosives were violated and legal action will be taken against the mine operator. Further, the mine operator will be made to pay additional compensation to the victims’ families as per the Labour Act.

He said operators of other mines were being alerted to ensure all safety measures to prevent such blasts in future. Based on the complaint from mines department assistant director Ravi Prasad, police registered a criminal case against mine operator Nageswara Reddy. Postmortem for all 10 bodies was completed but as only two bodies were identified by the family members, police have sent the samples to the Forensic Lab in Vijayawada for DNA tests. A Bomb squad inspected the site to ensure there were no explosives.

Ballari financially self-sufficient for handling COVID-19: Anand Singh

The Hindu | May 10, 2021

He says it will make use of funds from District Mineral Foundation

Pointing to the huge cash reserves of District Mineral Foundation (DMF) lying with the district administration in Ballari, Minister for Infrastructure Development, Haj and Wakf Anand Singh, who is also the district in-charge Minister, said that there was no dearth of funds for tackling the COVID-19 pandemic.

The administration had, a few weeks ago, resolved to use the DMF funds, which was accumulated from the contributions of the mining companies and originally meant for taking up development and rehabilitation activities in mining-affected areas, for COVID-19 containment activities including the expansion of healthcare facilities in the district.

“The district has a large amount of DMF funds and there is no need for the district administration to seek money from the government for handling the pandemic. We will use the DMF funds to take up extensive pandemic containment activities. Saving people’s lives is our first priority. We will positively take the suggestions from all the people’s representatives for controlling the pandemic and incorporate them in our plans,” Mr. Singh said.

He was addressing a review meeting held at a conference hall of the PDAA Football Grounds in Ballari on Monday.

Anticipating the third wave of the pandemic, Mr. Singh said that the administration was already making all the preparations to face the situation by expanding the medical infrastructure not just at the district headquarters but at the taluk centres.

“We have decided to provide each taluk hospital with 10 ventilators and 10 dura cylinders. As many as 40 ventilators sent by the State government have already reached Ballari. We are in the process of expanding and upgrading the existing medical facilities by increasing the bed capacities, appointing additional health staff including doctors and nurses and equipment. In addition to 109 ambulances working in the district, we have planned to purchase more ambulances. We will shortly establish VRDL laboratories at Hosapete and Huvina Hadagali. Oxygen plants would be set up at each taluk hospital. The DMF funds would be used for the purpose,” Mr. Singh said.

The establishment of a temporary hospital with 1000 oxygenated beds, including 40 Intensive Care Unit beds, Mr. Singh added, is being taken up at Toranagal with the assistance of JSW Steel.

“The work is on a fast track. A public notice has been issued expressing interest in recruiting the required staff – expert doctors, staff nurses, lab technicians and others. The hospital is expected to be functional shortly.”

Referring to the increased number of COVID-19 deaths in the district as compared to other districts, Deputy Commissioner Pavan Kumar Malapat told the meeting that the patients with respiratory problems being rushed to the hospitals at an advanced stage was the major reason for the increased deaths. On the vaccination progress, the officer said that of the 6,01,191 people in the 45-59 year age group, 3,22,879 had taken the first dose and 31,573 had taken the second dose. Of the targeted 1,74,345 people above 60 years, 1,37,546 had taken the first dose and 33,733 had taken the second dose.

Social Welfare Minister B. Sriramulu, Lok Sabha member Karadi Sanganna and others were present.

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