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Odishatv Bureau

Bhubaneswar: The Odisha government will utilize funds available under the District Mineral Fund (DMF) to improve road connectivity in inaccessible areas of the State. The road projects will be undertaken by the Rural Development (RD) department.

DMF is a fund created out of contributions by mining companies for the development of mineral bearing districts. Holders of all major minerals leases contribute some percentage of their royalty dues prescribed by the Central Government for the Fund.

“We will soon finalise road projects for which funds from DMF will be utilized,” Rural Development minister Badri Naraya Patra said after a review meeting by chief minister Naveen Patnaik.

Officials said the funds accruing to the DMF would be utilised for overall development of the area whose ecology has been degraded by rampant mining. It would come up with corporate social responsibility (CSR) interventions in areas like education, health, roads and drinking water, they said.

The minister also informed that the department has a budget provision of Rs 400 crore for the current financial year.

“We have asked the legislators to submit constituency-wise requirement of bridges. We will undertake a survey and based on this, construction work of the projects will begin,” Patra stated.

Out of a total of 402 bridges targeted to be built under Biju Setu Yojana, the department has completed 235 bridges in the last two years, the minister revealed.

Steps will be taken to provide road connectivity to 3,486 villages having a population of 100 or more during this financial year, he added.

Data released by the central Mines ministry in April this year said Odisha has topped the list of collection, mopping up Rs 274 crore for DMF and Rs 8.2 crore towards National Mineral Exploration Trust (NMET).

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