A total of Rs 5,800 crore has been collected from nearly 50 districts in the last two years under a benefit scheme for mining-affected people, according to the latest status report on it released by the CSE today.
The first independent assessment of the work done under the District Mineral Foundation (DMF), by the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), also says that the analysis has found that supply of "clean drinking water" is a common issue that has been considered "high priority" by a majority of the districts.
Established as a non-profit trust in 2015 under the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, DMFs in every mining district have the precise objective to work for the interest and benefit of persons and areas affected by mining- related operations.
The corpus raised would be utilised by the states for the development of places and people affected by mining-related operations.
"DMF is a defining opportunity to overturn the decades of injustice meted out to the thousands of people living in deep poverty and deprivation in India's mining districts," said CSE Deputy Director General Chandra Bhushan.
Fifty key mining districts in the country from 11 states were surveyed for the report. The report has done extensive analysis of DMF plans of nine districts in four top mining states - Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Jharkhand and Madhya Pradesh, the green NGO said in a statement.
"The collected total of Rs 5,800 crore is not from all the mining districts - hence, the potential corpus is still higher, as in certain states such as Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh DMFs are yet to be rolled out," it said.
The CSE report is an independent review of the progress and performance of DMFs in various mining districts of India.
"Odisha, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh alone account for close to 70 per cent of total money deposited in DMFs so far. The highest collections have come from the coal-mining districts.
"In some big mining districts such as Yavatmal of Maharashtra, Guntur of Andhra Pradesh, and Khamman, Adilabad, Karimnagar of Telangana, the collection so far has been much less than estimated," the CSE said.
The NGO further said that of the 50 districts surveyed, 24 indicated that their DMF plans were ready. However, actual plans were available from only 17 districts, it added.
"The DMF plans which CSE has analysed broadly indicate allocations made to various sectors. The analysis has found that supply of clean drinking water is a common issue that has been considered 'high priority' by a majority of the districts. Education and healthcare are two other issues that districts have considered, though for all these allocations and approaches vary," the NGO said.
The CSE alleged that the allocations at various instances are "ad hoc and short-sighted".
"In many districts, the DMF plans mechanically list the number and types of works to be undertaken, without any elaboration on the rationale of planning," it claimed.
"The administration is dominated by government officials with poor representation of people. DMFs are functioning without a fixed administrative set-up, such as an office for planning and co-ordination, relying on intermittent meetings of the DMF body," the green NGO further alleged.
Srestha Banerjee, programme manager, environmental governance-community support programme, the CSE said, "Dhanbad, one of the highly polluted coal mining districts of Jharkhand, has allocated 62.5 per cent of its DMF budget for clean drinking water, which the district largely plans to provide through piped water supply.
"On the contrary, Singrauli, the top coal mining district of Madhya Pradesh and a critically polluted area, has earmarked a negligible 0.9 per cent of its DMF budget for drinking water which entirely is for digging tube wells."
The CSE has recommended that a "bottom-up planning process must be followed by involving gram sabhas as per the mandate of the law."
"DMFs can converge and integrate with other schemes of the Centre and state governments. This should however, be done only after thorough assessment of gaps," it said, besides making several other recommendations.
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