Odisha utilises only 24 per cent of sanctioned District Mineral Foundation fund

The New Indian Express| September 11, 2019

A total of 12,649 projects estimated to cost Rs 8,074 crore have been taken up under DMF in different districts by end of July, 2019.

BHUBANESWAR: The State is seriously lagging behind in timely utilisation of funds allocated from District Mineral Foundation (DMF). Topping the list in collection of funds to the tune of Rs 7,600 crore, Odisha has reportedly utilised about Rs 1,900 crore on various projects in areas affected by mining activities. This is only 24 per cent of the sanctioned amount.

“As of now around Rs 7,600 crore has been collected by mineral-bearing districts under DMF. Out of this around Rs 8,074 crore has been allocated against different projects by respective district DMF Trusts,” said Planning and Convergence Joint Secretary PK Mahakud after a high-level meeting.

Base works of the sanctioned projects like survey, foundation, groundwork have been completed with the utilisation of around Rs 1,900 crore. Since these projects have reached the takeoff phase, the expenditure under this head would go up in the coming months, he added.

A total of 12,649 projects estimated to cost Rs 8,074 crore have been taken up under DMF in different districts by the end of July, 2019.

At a high-level committee headed by Chief Secretary Asit Tripathy reviewed the progress of implementation of the projects sanctioned for each district. Tripathy directed the department concerned to prepare a five-year perspective action plan indicating the projects under DMF and advise the DMF Trusts of each district to prioritise the works as per their local need. Departments like Panchayati Raj and Drinking Water, Rural Development, Water Resources and Works were advised to deploy more technical manpower at the ground level through outsourcing for expeditious implementation of the projects.

Financial sanctioning power of the Superintending Engineers has enhanced from Rs 4 crore to Rs 10 crore for quick sanction of the projects. Development Commissioner Suresh Chandra Mohapatra advised the departments to identify the critical gaps in ongoing programmes and plans and reflect those in the perspective plan. It was decided that the progress of projects at ground level would be regularly reviewed through video conferencing with the district collectors each month.

“The district-level officers, including departmental officers, should have a clear cut vision of the projects,” Tripathy said. Departments were advised to keep a tab of the projects for avoiding any possible duplication of allocations and maximise their outcomes.

District-wise review of the programmes showed that the districts of Angul, Jajpur, Jharsuguda, Keonjhar and Sundargarh are the top five in DMF collection and allocation. Of total projects sanctioned, these five districts have 11,126 projects.

Angul district has 2,918 projects estimated around Rs 1,097 crore, Jajpur has 2,691 projects worth Rs 1,125 crore, Jharsuguda has 638 projects worth Rs 1,125 crore, Keonjhar with 854 projects of Rs 2,488 crore and Sundargarh has 4025 projects estimated at Rs 2,025 crore.