K'taka sitting over District Mineral Fund

Karnataka did not spend single rupee from the District Mineral Fund (DMF) despite the government collecting over Rs 500 crore from the mining lease holders for take up developmental works in the mining affected areas, says data released by the Centre on spending of money by states.

So far total Rs 566 crore is accrued in Karnataka under District Mineral Fund (DMF) and the entire amount is lying idle. This means, the state government did not sanction any projects to be taken up from the DMF, said an official in the Union Ministry of Mines.

Jharkhand stood top in utilising the funds in the country with launching 1.91 lakh projects while Chattisgarh is in second position with launching 43,484 projects. Neigbouring Telangana launched 67 projects and Andhra Pradesh implemented over 3,700 projects.

Total Rs 12,929 crore collected from mining companies in 12 mineral rich states while Rs 7,304 crore worth projects have been sanctioned till the date says data.

Reacting to zero progress by Karnataka in spending funds from the DMF, Union Ministry of Mines Secretary Arun Kumar said "we expect the state should expedite its implementation so that mining-hit regions get the benefit of mining operations."

Since the utilising the money is entirely discretionary of the DMF trust set up in the respective districts, the Centre does not have any role in it. However, the Ministry of Mines had issued broader guidelines on how to spend this money for the welfare of the mining affected areas, he said.

The DMF is funded by contributions from the mining lease holders and it should be spend for development and welfare projects in mining affected areas only.

As the direction issued by the Centre on spending money in October 16, 2015, of the total DMF collected money, 60% should be utilised for the priority areas like drinking water, sanitation, environment and pollution control measures, health case education welfare of women, children in mining affected areas.

In Karnataka, the DMFs have been set up in all 31 districts in January 2016 and made district incharge minister as its chairman.

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