Lashing out at the Centre for lack of transparency and accountability in projects under the District Mineral Foundation (DMF), a parliamentary panel has asked it to develop a monitoring mechanism saying only projects worth Rs 48.88 billion could be completed as against a total collection of Rs 212.35 billion until August 2018.
It has also observed that instead of tapping DMF as a tool to alleviate poverty of millions of mining impacted people, the progress was tardy to the extent that out of a total collection of Rs 212.35 billion, projects worth only Rs 155.48 billion could be sanctioned.
"As against a total collection of Rs 212.35 billion as on August 2018 under the DMF, projects worth Rs 155.48 billion only have been sanctioned so far...out of a total 81,624 projects sanctioned, only 22,026 projects worth Rs 48.88 billion have been completed so far, reflecting non-initiation of schemes under DMF," the panel headed by Chintamani Malviya said in its recent report tabled in Parliament.
DMFs are funded by statutory contributions from holders of mining leases -- 10 per cent of royalty in respect to mining leases granted on or after January 12, 2015, and 30 per cent of royalty in respect of mining leases granted before the date.
"The committee feels that the DMF is a defining opportunity in benefitting millions of mining-affected people living in deep poverty in country's mining districts and it is very important and crucial that DMF is implemented in the letter and spirit of MMDR Act," it said.
It recommended that the Ministry of Mines should work out a suitable monitoring mechanism for ensuring that the funds for the designated objectives are allocated and utilised within the stipulated time-frame.
Pointing out at lack of accountability for projects under it besides transparency issues, it said that "provisions must be made for fixing of accountability in the case of unnecessary delays in implementation of DMF related schemes/projects".
The government recently said that it has asked all states to complete the audit of DMF up to the year 2017-18 by the end of current financial year.
"Ministry of Mines vide letter dated October 4, 2018 has requested the state governments to audit the funds of DMF utilised under PMKKKY (Pradhan Mantri Khanij Kshetra Kalyan Yojana)," the government has said.
DMF is a trust set up as a non-profit body, in those districts affected by the mining works, to work for the interest and benefit of persons and areas affected by mining-related operations.