Jharkhand will get more than Rs 1000 crore every year as district mineral foundation (DMF) fund for the development of mining-affected people, according to an estimate by the Delhi-based Centre for Science and Environment (CSE).
The Mine and Minerals Development and Regulation (Amendment) Act, 2015 — passed by the Centre in March provided for the district mineral foundation (DMF) and stipulated that it would get one-third of the total royalty given to the state against mines and mineral exploration. Jharkhand is likely to constitute DMF by October-end.
Tribes people, who have been asserting their right over the mineral wealth under the land they own, suspect misuse of DMF fund and have reservations about the provision of the deputy commissioner to function as the chairman of the foundation. Tribal bodies, environmentalists and civil societies have demanded that the state government empower the gram sabha to plan, implement and monitor the DMF.
“This is for the first time when the government has recognised the urgency of sharing the benefits of mining with the poor in mining areas. This provision will earn huge amount for local development in mining areas,” said Sunita Narain, CSE director general. Narain, who was in Ranchi on Friday, said a weak policy for DMF could deprive genuine beneficiaries of the benefits.
The CSE has estimated that around Rs 105 crore would go to DMF in Jharkhand only from iron ore and Rs 820 crore from coal royalty annually. According to a report of the state mining department, Jharkhand earns Rs 3,500 as royalty from minerals annually.
“The proposed fund belongs to the affected people who were either displaced or their lands were taken for mining. So the fund should go to them. Gram sabha should be empowered to make plans for utilisation of the fund, which is not happening in case of sand auctioning in Jharkhand,” said Dayamani Barla, a tribal rights activist and leader of the Adivasi Moolvasi Astitwa Raksha Samiti.
The Centre has introduced the foundation but it has not framed guidelines for its constitution. States have been told to frame rules for the foundation, CSE officials said.
“We are not against the deputy commissioner being the chairman of the foundation. We only demand inclusion of gram sabha members of the affected mine area in the foundation,” said Gopinath Ghosh, human rights wing in-charge of the Birsa Mines Monitoring Centre.