Use DMF funds effectively to fight hunger and child nutrition

Down to Earth | Oct 18, 2019

The money provides enormous scope to scale up intervention and meet national and SDG targets at the time of a slipping hunger index

The recently released global hunger index (GHI) 2019 has once again made India confront an uncomfortable reality. At a time when we are aspiring to be a five-trillion dollar economy and touching some of the heights in science and education, our country is crippled with high under-five mortality, severe undernourishment and pervasive symptoms of malnutrition such as wasting and stunted growth among children. India’s 102 ranking in the GHI table (out of 117 nations) simply is an antithesis of our aspirations. Read more

DMF funds for mineral-rich states grossly underutilised

Financial Express | Oct 18, 2019

Of the DMF collections, states have approved Rs 22,999 crore towards various projects, categorised as ‘priority areas’ like drinking water supply, education and healthcare and ‘other priority areas’ like developing physical infrastructure.

Mineral-rich states have utilised only 22% of the Rs 31,833 crore accrued to the district mineral foundations (DMF), a facility meant for the development of mine-affected areas and its people, mostly tribals. In contrast, the annual budget for the tribal affairs ministry for the 2019-20 fiscal stands at just Rs 6,895 crore.
Mining royalty is earned by the respective states where the leases are located. Read more

How Maharashtra, Karnataka & Tamil Nadu Use Outdated State Laws To Acquire Land

IndiaSpend | Nihar Gokhale, Land Conflict Watch | October 9, 2019

Maharashtra and Karnataka are using decades-old land acquisition laws–similar to a now-defunct colonial-era law–to acquire land for large projects, bypassing a more recent central law that provides for landowners’ consent and fair compensation.

However, the Madras High Court in July 2019 termed a similar law in Tamil Nadu “null and void”, putting a question mark on all three states’ practices, and giving activists a chance to challenge the states in court. Read more

In coal town Dipka, mining pollution takes a heavy toll on nature as well as public health

Hindustan Times, Chhattisgarh | Ritesh Mishra | Oct 09, 2019

According to surveys by UBS, approximately 5,000 trucks ferry out coal from the Dipka mine – adding toxic fumes and kicking up more dust from the broken roads.

Coal dust is everywhere in Dipka – it turns the air hazy, the river water black and settles in a film on an any surface left exposed for a couple of hours. “You can see the water in the river. Sometimes it turns black. Even cattle avoid entering in Lilagar,” says 21-year-old Rohit Kashyap, who lives in one of four resettlement colonies that were made to accommodate those displaced by the coal mine. Read more

Mines near rivers polluting water, affecting flow, in Chhattisgarh

Hindustan times, New Delhi | Oct 09, 2019

Coal mines have a heavy water demand, using millions of litres each day to wash off impurities – the effluents are invariably diverted back downstream.

Sometime in the afternoon on September 29, the Lilagar river, usually a calm tributary of the Mahanadi but at the time in spate for days following heavy monsoon rains, changed course and broke through an embankment to flood a Coal India mine in Chhattisgarh’s Dipka. It inundated open pits, submerging heavy machinery, and knocking out operations that will take at least a month to normalise. Read more

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