State Level Consultation – Bellary, Karnataka

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.

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