Report on assessment of the DMF scheme released
Jamshedpur, July 31 : In October 2016, the Jharkhand government directed all districts to use their District Mineral Foundation (DMF) investments for developing piped-water schemes and construction of toilets to meet the ODF targets. All investments since have focussed only on these two issues. And there are question marks over many of the piped water projects. Says the assessment report released here today by Centre for Science and Environment (CSE): “No planning process has been followed by the districts in the state to assess any other pressing needs of their mining-affected people and areas.”
“DMF is a people-centric vision of natural resource governance where their right to benefit has been put at the forefront. If developed and implemented well, DMFs not only have huge potential for improving the lives and livelihoods of some of the poorest communities, they can also be a model for inclusive governance,” said Sunita Narain, director general, CSE, while releasing the report.
DMFs have been instituted to be established as a non-profit Trust in every mining district of the country under the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation), Amendment Act, 2015. They have a precise and legally defined objective to work for the interest and benefit of persons and areas affected by mining-related operations.
The DMF collection in Jharkhand is Rs 2,696 crore till March 2018. The top six districts in Jharkhand in terms of DMF collection are Dhanbad (Rs 715 crore), West Singhbhum (Rs 424 crore), Chatra (Rs 425.8 crore), Ramgarh (Rs 414 crore),Bokaro (Rs 265 crore) and Godda (Rs 200 crore).
“DMF is a defining opportunity to overturn decades of injustice meted out to millions of people living in deep poverty and deprivation in India’s mining districts. But DMF can only deliver if it is implemented in the letter and spirit of the DMF Rules under the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation), Amendment Act, 2015. Our assessment shows that so far, Jharkhand has failed to implement DMF in the right spirit,” said Chandra Bhushan, deputy director general, CSE.
People excluded from DMF planning and implementation CSE’s assessment shows that the administration of DMF in Jharkhand is top-down and has poor representation of mining-affected people. The DMF investment priorities have been determined by the state government.
“DMF Rules in Jharkhand categorically specify a bottom-up planning approach to be followed to address the needs of the mining-affected people. Not including people in decision-making violates the Rules,” said Bhushan.