BHUBANESWAR: District Mineral Foundations (DMFs) provide people their unassailable right to benefit from the resources they depend upon and are a vehicle through which the socio-economic status of mining affected regions can be made better, said speakers at a programme here on Thursday.
Focusing on proper implementation of DMFs, deputy director general of Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) Chandra Bhushan termed it a ‘game-changer’ through which some of the most pressing human development issues in mining affected areas can be effectively addressed.
In Odisha, one of the major mining States of the country, more than Rs 1,600 crore has already been collected from mining companies. While some of the mining districts are in the process of planning for DMFs, Keonhar and Angul have already allocated funds for various developmental projects.
Community groups, however, claimed that the rules and planning are non-inclusive. They said people in mining affected areas have been left out of the planning process which is supposed to be for their own welfare.
‘’The affected people were not consulted for DMF rules and identifying beneficiaries. This is why not a single affected community member is in the DMF governing board or managing committee,’’ said Dileep Samal of Odisha Voluntary Health Association.
Biplab Mishra of Keonjhar-based Prakalpa, which works on health and livelihood, expressed concern over diversion of DMF funds towards planned projects of State or Central Government having fund allocation. Demanding changes in the rules, he called for a bottom-up planning involving gram sabhas.
The meeting was organised by CSE, a New Delhi-based public interest research and advocacy organisation.