BHUBANESWAR: With above Rs 1,100 crore in hand under the District Mineral Foundation (DMF), the Odisha government asked the District Collectors to make judicious utilisation of the funds meant for poor people living in the mining areas.
Chief Secretary A P Padhi said this to District Collectors while chairing the first meeting of the recently formed State Level Committee (SLC) on DMF.
District Collectors as heads of the district level committees participated the meeting though video conferencing.
“Spend the DMF fund most judiciously prioritising the mining affected areas,” Padhi told the Collectors.
Replying to a question, steel and mines secretary R K Sharma said so far above Rs 1,100 crore have been collected under the DMF.
“The DMFs have been formed in all districts and in many major districts the foundations have started implementing developmental projects,” Sharma said.
While participating in the meeting, Sharma suggested the District Collectors to look in to the amended ODMF Rules and guidelines and plan the collection and expenditures of funds accordingly.
He said the amended rule shows, in case of major minerals, 30 per cent of royalty for mining leases granted before January 12, 2015 and ten per cent of royalty of mining leases granted after this date were to be collected as Mineral Fund.
For minor minerals, 30 per cent of royalty for leases not granted through auction and ten per cent of royalty for leases granted through auction would be collected, he said.
The meeting also discussed the proposals for including infrastructural projects for welfare of old-age persons, persons with disabilities, transgenders, drug-addicts and working women.
It was decided that the Executive Committees of the DMFs may consider the projects like establishment of old age home, district rehabilitation centres, homes for mentally retarded persons, drug de-addiction centres etc. for mining affected areas and people, Sharma said.
Development Commissioner R Balakrishnan suggested the Collectors to establish last mile connectivity to remote and cut-off habitations for delivery of essential services.
The districts were also asked to utilise the technical and manpower expertise of the line departments for preparation and implementation of the projects under DMF.
Balakrishnan advised the line departments in heavy mining districts to deploy more manpower like engineers, technical staff for execution of the projects.
The funds accruing to the DMF would be utilised for overall development of the area whose ecology has been degraded by rampant mining. It would come up with CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) interventions in areas like education, health, roads and drinking water.
Section 9B(2) of the MMDR Act empowers the state government to prescribe the manner in which DMFs would work for the interest and benefit of the affected persons.