A delegation led by mines, minerals and People (mm&P) chairman Ravi Rebbapragada, who is executive director, Samata, and Ashok Shrimali, secretary-general mm&P, and consisting of mm&P executive committee members from Rajasthan, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Andhra Pradesh and Goa, has raised mining-related issues before India’s top parliamentarians.
PANAJI: Around 70 children in Sonshi, and several others in the state’s mining belt, are unable to go to school as mining companies, after their operations came to a standstill following the Supreme Court order, stopped providing them transport.
It is the state government’s responsibility in these circumstances to immediately provide free transport to these schoolchildren as also water to these areas, Ashok Shrimali of the voluntary organisation mines, minerals and people said. Read more
TimesView Mining areas like Sonshi have always faced the brunt of government neglect, first when they were being smothered in pollution and now when their children have been deprived school bus service and are forced to stay home. The government provides buses to aided schools under the Bal Rath scheme, why does it not extend the scheme to government schools as economically underprivileged children are more likely to go to these schools.
“We held a daylong workshop today with mining affected people from across Goa and the main issues affecting them presently is no transport for their children to go to school and lack of water. Mining companies have stopped providing both as their operations have shut. They say they are now contributing towards the district mineral foundation (DMF) instead,” Ravindra Velip of mines, minerals and people said.
Velip said it is shameful that children are unable to go to school because of lack of transport. “It is the primary responsibility of the state government to provide these basic requirement and they should do so immediately. The state cannot wash its hands off the responsibility,” he added.
Shrimali said that the state government also urgently needs to carry out a study on the groundwater situation in the mining belt.
“Goa has a DMF of about Rs 186 crore, of which Rs 10 crore have been utilised so far. When we checked the ground reality, we were informed that due to mismanagement the Rs 10 crore which was spent has failed to benefit the affected community,” said Shirmali.
Courtesy: The Times of India
By Sayantani Sarkar
Samata and mines minerals and people (mm&P) organized a District Level Consultation on Children in Mining Area, Illegal Mining, District Mineral Fund (DMF) and Future Generation Fund in collaboration with SETU at Honda Panchayat, Sattari, Goa on 22nd December’ 2018.
The Consultation witnessed the presence of total 62 participants comprising of local government representatives like Panchayat Members, Sarpanch, community members from Sonshi, Soyle, Pissurle and Honda, members of Civil Society Organizations, and Women’ s Groups and Self-Help Groups (SHGs).
There were discussions on the overview of mining throughout the country, various stages of mining, illegal mining, Samata Judgement, situation of children in the mining areas and consequences on their education, health affected due to air and water pollution, malnutrition issues etc., and the need for lobbying National Level regarding Child Rights as they are being violated.
There were discussions on the situation of children in mining areas and it was said that “mining children are nobody’s children and are falling through the cracks” as they are mostly ignored by all the concerned child welfare departments, govt. authorities unaware of the mining children’s inclusion in the respective departments. There is a confusion and lack of clarity as in which department the children in the mining areas should be included and what basic facilities and amenities should be provided to them.
The community people of Sonshi shared that around 70 children of the village and the surrounding villages are struck in their homes and unable to go to school as mining companies after the mining operations came to a standstill following a Supreme Court order, stopped providing the children transport and the roads are inaccessible due to mining dumps placed near the villages. Secretary General of mm&P Ashok Shrimali said that “this is violation of the Right to Education Act and it is the state government’s responsibility to provide free transport for school.”
There were elaborative discussions on District Mineral Fund (DMF), its formation, implementation in all the states and lack of public awareness on the functioning of the DMF. It was found that people are unaware of the DMF which is meant to be utilized for the betterment of the mining affected communities and the funds collected are to be utilized to provide basic amenities like drinking water, sanitation, education, health and environmental conservation and preservation. It was also noticed that there was no community participation of the mining affected communities at the planning, formulation and implementation stage.
Shrimali stated that as per the information available, Goa has about Rs. 186 crore under DMF of which Rs. 10 crore has been utilized. However the ground reality is that due to mismanagement of funds, the amount spent has not benefitted the mining affected communities.
Executive Council Member of mm&P, Goa Ravindra Velip, said that no district has developed a comprehensive DMF plan to ensure need- based investments in mining affected areas. He alleged that while the role of gram sabhas and panchayats are sidelined, no beneficiaries are identified under the scheme.
In spite of the Mines Minerals Development and Regulation (MMDR) Act, 2015, giving instructions to respective state governments to form District Mineral Fund (DMF) Trust, it has taken almost 3 years for most of the states to set it up and frame rules. Worse, its implementation is still lagging, and most people still do not have any clue about what is DMF and that it exists.
Highlighting this at a state-level consultation on Children in Mining Area, Illegal Mining and District Mineral Fund (DMF), organized on December 16 by civil rights organizations, Samata, and mines minerals and people (mm&P), and collaborated by local organizations Jan Sangram Parishat and Sakhi Trust at Ballari, Karnataka, secretary-general mm&P Ashok Shrimali appealed to the Union and State Governments to create awareness among the people about DMF, its process and implementation.
Shirmali urged state governments to involve the affected people in the process of planning and implementation of projects regarding the utilization of DMF funds. He highlighted that “planning process should start from the grass-roots level, after mapping the issues covering various aspects that would be for the benefit of the posterity.”
Youth leader from Sandur, Amreesh and Kondamma, a participant and representative from the mining affected community, stated that women and vulnerable communities like SC/ST should have representation in DMF planning, execution and implementation stages. They also emphasized that DMF funds should be utilized only for the betterment and rehabilitation of the mining affected communities and not for infrastructure purposes.
In the context of Karnataka, it was reflected that after the formation of DMF, Rs 1,220 crore had been collected from the mining firms till October 2018, of which the highest was from Ballari Rs 748 crore. The DMF has proposed 1,451 works estimated at Rs 638 crore, while the expenditure till date has been a mere Rs 48 crore.
— Sayantani Sarkar, Samata
Mines, Minerals and People (MMP) a non-governmental organisation fighting for the rights of the people, particularly of those affected by mining activities, will urge the Union and the State governments to involve people in the process of planning and implementation of projects and programmes being taken up utilising District Mineral Foundation (DMF) funds.
“People, particularly the affected, should be involved in the entire process, right from planning to implementation,” Ashok Srimali, general secretary of MMP, said here on Sunday.
“Irreparable damage has been caused to nature due to mining and people have also been severely affected. Though DMFs have been formed, the affected people have not been involved in the process of planning and implementation. MMP has launched a campaign all over the country, to create awareness among the people about the advantages of DMF,” he said.
“Planning process should start from the grass-roots level, after mapping the issues covering various aspects that would be for the benefit of the posterity,” he said.
After the formation of DMF in Karnataka, Rs. 1,220 crore had been collected from the mining firms till October 2018, of which the highest was from Ballari at Rs. 748 crore. The respective DMF have proposed 1,451 works estimated at Rs. 638 crore, while the expenditure has been a mere Rs. 48 crore.
Courtesy: The Hindu, Ballari, 17-12-2018