‘District Mineral Foundation funds being used for infrastructure’

Mines, Minerals and People (MM&P), and other organisations, will meet members of Parliament in New Delhi on July 26 to prevail upon them to pressure the government on the establishing of Future Generation Funds in all States for the welfare of the children, curbing of illegal mining, the proper utilisation of funds collected under District Mineral Foundation, and ensuring that mining leases are given only after the prior approval of the gram sabhas.

MM&P has been on the forefront in taking up the cause of the people affected by mining activities.

Ashok Shrimali, Secretary General, MM&P, who was here to participate in the State-level consultation on mining and people, organised by Samata, Vishakapattanam and Sakhi of Ballari, was talking to presspersons here on Tuesday.

Mr. Shrimali expressed concern that the funds mobilised through District Mineral Foundation (DMF) across the country were being spent on infrastructure development and not on rehabilitating the affected.

Many displaced

“A lot of people around the mining areas are displaced and their livelihood has been affected. Besides, they are also facing severe health problems. This being the case, the DMF funds were being used for infrastructure development such as the laying of roads, construction of bridges and the like, instead of for the rehabilitation of the displaced and affected,” he observed.

He also said that the Supreme Court, in an order pertaining to Goa mining case, had for the first time, directed setting of Future Generation Fund to be used for the welfare of the children in the areas affected by mining activities. The same needed to be forwarded in other States too.

Mr. Shrimali said that parliamentarians would be asked to take suitable decisions to curb illegal mining all over the country resulting in looting of natural mineral resources and causing a severe impact on the environment, ecology and public health.

“The community (people) should have rights over the natural mineral resources and their consent should be made mandatory before granting mining leases,” he stressed.

Shivakumar Malagi of Jan Sangram Parishat, was among others present.

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