No dearth of rehab projects, yet states drag feet on spending DMF funds

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Mineral-rich states have been sluggish in spending funds collected from the miners under the District Mineral Foundation (DMF).

Though the combined collection of 21 mineral bearing states has touched Rs 137.5 billion, actual expenditure is only Rs 22.6 billion, according to latest data compiled by the Union mines ministry. The DMF has been set up in 506 districts across the country.

There is no dearth of projects to be implemented out of DMF funds. In all, about 274,110 projects and schemes have been listed by the states in sectors such as roads, healthcare, drinking water, sports, sanitation, watershed development, skill development, irrigation, energy and education. The contributions to the DMF are to be used for the economic development and welfare of inhabitants affected by mining operations.

Odisha, which has the highest DMF collection of Rs 35.5 billion, has managed to spend just Rs 2.6 billion, though it has launched as many as eligible 5,808 projects and schemes.

“Implementation of schemes under DMF has not kept pace with fund collection. However, we hope the pace will pick up, as we have identified several projects. All our targeted interventions are towards improving the quality of lives of the people hit by mining activities,” said an Odisha government official.

According to the guidelines listed in the amended Mines and Minerals Development & Regulation (MMDR) Act, miners who have bagged leases prior to January 12, 2015 would have to fork out 30 per cent of the royalty amount as DMF contribution. New mines bagged through auctions need to pay 10 per cent of their royalty as DMF contribution.

The funds accruing to the DMF would be used 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 such as education, health, roads and drinking water.

Section 9B(2) of the amended MMDR (Mines and Minerals- Development & Regulation) Act, 2015 empowers the state government to prescribe the manner in which the DMF would work for affected communities. The foundation is meant for the marginalised population on land devastated by mining, where the quality of life and environment stands substantially degraded.

Break-up of DMF collections
1. Coal & Lignite: Rs 65.9 billion
2. Minor Minerals: Rs 10 billion
3. Major Minerals (other than coal & lignite): Rs 48.8 billion
4. Total DMF collection- Rs 137.5 billion
5. Amount spent – Rs 22.6 billion
Source: Union mines ministry data.

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