Apex mineral body FIMI on Monday expressed concerns over slow utilisation of funds collected from different districts under the government scheme for mining-affected people and stressed upon creation of a miners' panel to advise government to "gainfully utilise" the amount.
"Accumulation of funds being collected by the government under District Mineral Foundation (DMF) has touched Rs 33,273 crore by October 2019, but the spending has been just about 30 per cent... Rural and tribal community do not understand District Mineral Foundation and contribution of mining companies in DMF unless the existing accumulation is gainfully utilised.
"A miners committee should be formed to advise government in this regard and FIMI is ready to take lead in this," the Federation of Indian Mineral Industries (FIMI) said.
Till October, the government has been able to utilise only Rs 10,537 crore, it said. This amount is also spread across 21 states and union territories and in 557 districts.
"Government has no action plan to gainfully utilise this mammoth accumulation of DMF funds which is only increasing every month," FIMI said.
It further added that only 43 per cent projects have been completed, 34 per cent are on-going, 17 per cent yet to start and six per cent projects have been cancelled. When license to operate is a necessity for miners, the 70 per cent unspent amount, nearly Rs 22,735 crores is only creating unrest in the community.
Government collects DMF funds under three categories -- coal and lignite mining, major minerals (excluding coal and lignite) and minor minerals.
"Slow utilisation of DMF funds by government is widening distance between community and miners. Development of mineral resource is a serious business and is the backbone of infrastructure development for any country. India is a developing country and to achieve the government's vision of making India a 5 trillion economy, mining sector will play a decisive role," FIMI Secretary General R K Sharma said.