Officials yet to decide on spending 5.5-crore fund

The Times of India | Dec 08, 2019

Nashik: The District Mineral Foundation is yet to conduct a meeting on how to utilise the corpus of Rs 5.5 crore that has been left for works pending for a very long time.

It may be noted that 60% of the funds have to be spent on high priority works like drinking water supply, environment preservation and pollution control measures, health care, education, agriculture and allied activities, welfare of women and children, welfare of aged and specially abled people, skill development, employment and sanitation.

40% of the amount has to be spent on physical infrastructure – like roads, railway bridges, clusters or other industrial development; irrigation and energy and watershed development, etc.

The Maharashtra District Mineral Foundation (trust) has been formed and is headed by district collectors. Among other government officials who are members of the foundation are the Zilla Parishad chief executive officer (CEO) and the district mining officer, who is the secretary of the trust.

No meeting has taken place to discuss how the funds will be used. The enforcement of the model code of conduct—during the parlimentary elections in May and the state assembly elections in October—further delayed the conduct of the meetings. The meetings are important as the ways and means in which the funds can be utilised for the development of the areas defaced during the mining activity have to be factored in.

According to a senior officer from the District Minor Minerals department, Rs 5.5 crore is lying idle with the office. Several proposals for the construction of roads, water bodies in the areas where mining has been carried out and beautification works have been floated.

The committee has asked block development officers, zilla parishad and tehsildars to bring to the fore areas where the funds from the foundation can be put to good use. The meeting is expected to be conducted once in four months.