Saikia seeks funds release

Guwahati: Leader of the Opposition Debabrata Saikia has urged Assam’s minister for mines and minerals, Sum Ronghang, to ensure the expedited collection and utilisation of funds for the District Mineral Foundation Trust (DMFT) for the welfare of people living in the vicinity of mining sites.

In a recent letter to Ronghang, Saikia said the setting up of the foundations in all districts of Assam had been notified in 2016 in accordance with the Mines and Minerals (Contribution to District Minerals Foundation) Rules, 2015, promulgated by the Centre.

However, not a single penny of the trust funds had been released or utilised for the benefit of the people of Sivasagar district where mining of petroleum and natural gas, stone and sand is undertaken on a sizeable scale, he alleged.

The Opposition leader pointed out that lease holders are supposed to pay a levy over and above royalty to compensate for the adverse fallout of mining activities, such as air and water pollution, along with loss of valuable naturals resources.

Saikia said the intention behind imposing levy ranging from 2 per cent to 30 per cent of the relevant royalty would stand defeated if funds were not regularly collected and spent through the foundation trusts for the benefit of those who suffered the most owing to mining.

Source: The Telegraph