By Bizodisha Bureau, Bhubaneswar, July 30, 2017: Mineral rich Odisha has only spent less than one-fifth of the fund allocated under District Mineral Foundation [DMF] in 2016-17.

The state has a total deposit of Rs 1233 crore by the end of last fiscal while it could spend a meagre Rs 22 crore for the development in mining areas and people living around these areas due to several roadblocks.

“To address the roadblocks, we need to make structural changes and develop a precise delivery system that is flexible with low cost operation and should be professional in approach”, National Aluminium Company chairman and managing director Dr Tapan Kumar Chand said.

Chand was addressing as chief guest at the inaugural session of state–level workshop on “Understanding District Mineral Foundation & its Role”, organised by the Centre for the Study of Contemporary Societies (CSCS) here on Sunday.

With rich mineral resources, and revolutionary schemes like Pradhan Mantri Khanij Kshetra Kalyan Yojana and setting up of District Mineral Foundations (DMF), the mining sector in the country could very well address the developmental issues of the mining areas and people living around these areas.

However, there is little success in this regard due to lack of effective implementation.

Chand underlined the importance of inclusion of Civil Society members and Industry bodies who are contributing to the DMFs as core team members within the structural list of implementers.

“Civil society members are always in the forefront in taking up the cause of the people affected by mining activities, besides Industry bodies as professional bodies can also share their experience and expertise for effective implementation of developmental activities. It’s a paradox that the present structural system of policy implementers under DMF has confined it only to the law and order authorities and has ignored the role of Civil Society and Industry bodies thus defeating the very purpose of effective implementation mechanism”, Chand lamented.

Citing the example of Nalco Foundation – the Corporate Social Responsibility [CSR] arm of the company, the NLCO CMD remarked that due to its flexible and professional approach, development in the mining areas of the company’s operation had been noteworthy.

“Nalco Foundation from its inception has ensured that the wealth created from mining activities has been spent judiciously on issues that matters the most to the company that includes education, health care, sanitation, skill development, sports, promotion of art & culture, infrastructure development environment conservation, drinking water supply etc” Dr Chand claimed.

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