Chhattisgarh: DMF brings new light in life of mining-hit residents
Raipur: Chhattisgarh holds a special place in India in terms of mineral resources. The government is ensuring participation of mining lease holders for the interests and welfare of the people living in the area affected by mining operations. For this, the provision of the formation of the District Mineral Trust in the Mineral Act was made in the previous government.
However, many shortcomings were being felt in this provision by the experts as the participation of public representatives was not being ensured. Moreover, the participation of local people was also minimal. Apart from this, proper utilization of funds was not being done for the welfare of the directly affected people. In simple words, those in need were not getting benefitted from the allotted funds. Several other similar shortcomings were also observed in the preceding provisions.
In order to overcome these shortcomings, and to provide proper benefits to the affected local people in the fields of health, education, environment and sanitation, the state government has made several important reforms in the old provision to provide benefits directly to the affected people.
The Chhattisgarh government has utilized the DMF fund significantly for development in the state. All sector including education, health, infrastructure development, electricity, water, sanitation, etc have been developed with the help of DMF fund in all districts of Chhattisgarh.
The fund is also used in building Atmanand Government English-medium Schools in various districts of state. The cases of malnutrition have also reached all time low throughout the state with the help of DMF. Moreover, it has been used in improving the health infrastructure and providing relief to the people during Corona crisis. The changes can be felt in almost all the districts of state.
The primary steps taken by the government is to ensure representation of public representatives in the trust. For which, the minister in charge of the district has been appointed as ex-officio chairman of the governing council. Along with this, all the MLAs of the district have been appointed as its ex-officio members. Previously, according to the old provision, the Collector of the district used to be the chairman of the Governing Council.
The other significant change in the provision made by the Bhupesh-led government is the increased participation of local residents of the affected area. It is worth mentioning that in the previous provision, only those affected by mining were specially not given enough space in the Council. As per the amendment, the state government has decided to make provision for the appointment of at least 10 members of the Gram Sabha, residents of the directly affected area.
The state government further makes necessary changes in the preceding provisions. As per the amendments, 50 per cent of the amount received in the Trust will be used for the welfare of the directly affected area/persons. This has resulted in economic and social development of the residents. It is to be noted that in the previous provision, the entire district was considered affected and the amount was spent at will and only a part of the profit reached the needy.