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Sanjeev Kumar Patro

Bhubaneswar: Odisha is still languishing in utilisation of District Mineral Fund (DMF) in the country. The State figured among the bottom - ten in untilisation of funds under the Pradhan Mantri Khanij Kshetra Kalyan Yojana (PMKKKY).

Though Rs 7,065 crore has been approved for Odisha, only Rs 1,134 crore has been spent (as on Jan 21, 2019), meaning a utlisation rate of only 16 per cent down from 21 per cent in the first half of the fiscal 2019-20.

The State has commissioned a total of 10, 410 projects under DMF in 2019-20, a massive 4,683 are yet to take off. A mere 1,851 could see completion; whereas work in progress in another 3,884 projects.

Data available with the Union Mines Ministry shows the nationwide pace of utilisation of DMF proceeds stood at around 30 per cent. While the approved amount for the 21 mineral rich states stood at Rs 22,999 crore, the utilisation is estimated at Rs 6,944 crore.

Chhattisgarh boasts of record utilisation in country. It has spent 61 per cent of the allocated amount of Rs 4,349 crore. The other top performing states are:  Maharashtra, Gujarat and MP. States that are laggard in spending DMF funds are: Assam, Tamil Nadu, Bihar, Telangana and Karnantaka.

DMF has been created in each mineral producing district under the provisions of the amended Mines and Minerals- Development & Regulation (MMDR) Act, 2015. The fund is made by contributions from the miners. Older mines have to shell out 30 per cent of the royalty while newer mines obtained through the auctions route after January 12, 2015, the date of enactment of MMDR Act pay 10 per cent of the royalty.

Odisha has collected Rs 8,980 crore under the DMF, which is highest in the country. But when it comes to utilisation, the State languishes in the bottom ten.

A district wise glance shows Keonjhar tops the collection table with an amount worth Rs 2,001 crore. Sundargarh with  Rs 1,125 cr and Angul with Rs 973 cr followed.

Not only poor utilisation, Odisha is also plagued by skewed DMF utilisation, if one goes by the CSE (Centre for Science & Environment) report released earlier.

The CSE report pointed out how most of DMF investments in Odisha have been parked in areas that are not  benefitting people of mining affected districts.  As per CSE study, less than two per cent of Odisha's DMF sanctions has gone into women and child development, a critical area impacting most mining districts.

A high of 34 per cent is spent on physical infrastructure, Drinking water supply (25.2 per cent), healthcare (17.7 per cent) and education (10.5 per cent).

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