Business Standard

DMF missed out on benefitting mining-affected people: CSE


Press Trust of India New Delhi
TheDistrict Mineral Foundation (DMF) has failed to benefit people who were displaced or lost their livelihoods due to mining activities, an Indian think tank claimed today.
Set up as a non-profit body, the DMF is a trust that works for the benefit of people and areas affected by mining and is funded by miners.
In its report-- 'People First: District Mineral Foundation (DMF) Status Report', the Delhi based Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) assessed the effectiveness of DMF through an analysis of its administration in 12 mining states in the country.
"An in-depth analysis has been done of the investments in 13 districts in the five top mining states of Odisha, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan. These five states account for more than 72 per cent of the total DMF accrual in the country," said the report.
None of the trusts have identified its beneficiaries -- the mining-affected people, it added.
The law clearly mentions that the focus of DMFs is both mining-affected people and mining-affected areas. Therefore, DMFs should identify both and make investments accordingly, saidChandra Bhushan, deputy director general, CSE.
By not identifying the mining-affected people, DMFs have completely missed out on benefitting some of the worst-affected people those displaced due to mining operations and also those who have lost their livelihoods and their traditional rights over the land being mined, added Bhushan.
According to the report, DMF administration in most states is dominated by bureaucrats and political representatives.
And some states are now making the situation worse by increasing the political hold, the report said, adding that lack of planning is one of the biggest drawbacks of DMFs in most districts.
In the absence of proper planning, DMF sanctions are often misplaced, said Bhushan.
The report said in many cases, people and areas worst affected by mining have also been left out.
In Dhanbad, the biggest mining-affected area, Jharia, has been kept out of the scope of district's DMF sanctions, it alleged.
The area is infamous for the deplorable living conditions of its inhabitants with no livelihood opportunities but to pick coal, sustained exposure to burning coal, poor access to healthcare and lack of clean drinking water," Srestha Banerjee, programme manager,environmental governance unit, CSE.
"It is really a pity that not a single rupee out of Dhanbad's Rs 935 crore DMF sanctions has gone to Jharia, added Banerjee.
CSE director general Sunita Narain argued that better implementation of the initiative could be a model for inclusive governance.
"If developed and implemented well, DMFs not only have a huge potential for improving the lives and livelihoods of some of the poorest communities, they could also be a model for inclusive governance, she said at the launch of the report.

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First Published: Jul 31 2018 | 7:15 PM IST

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