Chhattisgarh becomes first state to amend DMF Rules, includes Gram Sabha members

The New Indian Express | July 10, 2019

The panel will also have space for the women while emphasising on the identification of beneficiaries and delineation of mining-affected areas by experts.

RAIPUR: With new amendments in Chhattisgarh District Mineral Foundation (DMF) Trust rules 2015, the state government declared to make it more people-centric, by including 10 members from the Gram Sabha of affected mining activity areas in the DMF Governing Council.

The panel will also have space for the women while emphasising on the identification of beneficiaries and delineation of mining-affected areas by experts.

In the amendment to the DMF Trust Rules 2015, the districts have been asked to evolve vision document through a need-based approach. The Amendments also advocate about spending on sustainable livelihoods, priorities the people and the worst-hit areas.

CM Bhupesh Baghel felt the DMF had misplaced priorities and he put a brake on its investment in the non-mining urban areas. The Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) has welcomed the amendments introduced by the Chhattisgarh government.

“Chhattisgarh becomes the first state where inclusion of Gram Sabah members from mining-affected areas in the DMF Governing Council is an important step towards empowering mining-affected people”, said Chandra Bhushan, deputy director general, CSE. DMF recognises the rights of people to benefit from natural resource extraction and that is possible only when they have a voice in the decision making, he added.

DMF ha been instituted as a non-profit Trust under the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Amendment Act 2015 ”to work for the interest and benefit of persons and areas affected by mining-related activities”.

The amendments assume significance since the mineral-rich Chhattisgarh is among the top states in terms of DMG accrual with a corpus fund of over Rs 4000 crore presently. “This amount can pave the way to improve the lives and livelihoods those affected by mining activities”, Bhushan added.

“There is clear instruction by the CM to ensure the allocation of DMF should primarily focus on those segments who are affected by mining activities and all efforts should be towards their development, education, healthcare, well-being and development of their areas. It will be the prerogative of the Governing Council to decide on the appropriate course of action on the utilisation of the funds”, said Vinod Verma, political advisor to the chief minister.