BHUBANESWAR: The State Government has decided to set up District Mineral Foundation (DMF) in mines bearing districts within the next two months.
Announcing this here on Friday, Minister of State for Steel and Mines Prafulla Mallick said the State Government has already prepared the draft DMF rules and is hopeful of launching operation within the next two months.
The Minister said district Collectors will be chairpersons of the Foundation while senior officials and representatives of mining companies will be members. He said corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities taken up by the mining companies will now be taken up by the Foundation.
Mallik said the Foundation will fetch at least `1500 crore to `2000 crore for Keonjhar district alone. He said with this fund, medical and engineering colleges can be established in mineral bearing districts. Funds can be utilised for overall development and welfare of the tribal population living in mines areas, he said.
The Minister said Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has continued to demand additional funds for development of people in mining areas before introduction of MMDR (amendment) Bill in Parliament.
Though the ruling BJD MPs supported the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) (Amendment) Bill, 2014 in Parliament, Mallick said the State Government continued to oppose the provisions of extension of lease period of non-captive lease till 2020 and captive lease till 2030 instead of putting them to auction.
Mallick said Odisha is the first State in the country to take a decision for putting all new mines and mineral reserves and second and subsequent renewals to auction while leasing them out.
Earlier, the Steel and Mines Ministry had proposed to create a DMF in every district affected by mining, which will be funded by an additional levy related to royalty. The Ministry had also proposed that funds from the DMF should be used for the benefit of people affected by mining activities and for improving infrastructure in mining-affected areas.