District Mineral Foundation in two months: Mines minister

Bhubaneswar: In its bid to develop mineral bearing areas in the State, the State government today said the District Mineral Foundation would be in operation in the next two months.

“Meanwhile, we have prepared draft district mineral foundation rules and optimistic of its operation in next two months,” Steel and Mines minister Prafulla Kumar Mallick said.

Stating that the District Mineral Foundation would fetch at least Rs 2,000 crore, the minister said the funds could be utilised for the overall development and welfare of the tribal population living in mines areas.

Mallick gave all credit to chief minister Naveen Patnaik who continued to demand additional funds for the development of the people in mines area before introduction of the MMDR (amendment) Bill in the Parliament.

Though the ruling BJD MPs supported the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) (Amendment) Bill, 2014, in Parliament, Mallick said the State government continued to oppose the provisions of extension of lease period of non-captive lease till 2020 and captive lease till 2030 instead of putting them in auction.

Mallick also claimed that Odisha was the first State in the country to take a decision of putting all new mines and mineral reservers seeking second and subsequent renewals in auction while leasing them out.

Earlier, the Union Steel and Mines Ministry had proposed to create a District Mineral Foundation (DMF) in every district affected by mining, which will be funded by an additional levy related to royalty.

The ministry had also proposed that the funds be used for the benefit of people affected by mining activities as also for the rebuilding of infrastructure in mining-affected areas.