DMF implementation

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DMF implementation since 2 and Half years, Few Progress and unheard voices

 

Prakash Kumar Sahoo

 

Kendujhar,31/08/17:In about two and half year time since District Mineral Foundation (DMF) came into effect the knowledge and awareness about it still remains very poor among people of mining-affected areas. In a awareness meeting held by the New Delhi based non-profit think tank, Centre for Science and Environment, this Tuesday, August 29, in Kendujhar, such was the response of various Panchayati Raj Institution (PRI) functionaries from various mining affected blocks. Among 35 PRI members from various mining affected blocks of Kendujhar district who were present at the meeting, only 2 said they knew about DMF. The blocks from where people came include Joda,Hatadihi and Harichandanpur. PRI members from another key mining-affected block Banspal, who could not come, also expressed similar level of knowledge in later communication.

 

The key purpose of the meeting was to interact with PRI functionaries of various mining districts to increase awareness about the prospects of DMF, and also to understand critical issues ailing those areas that can be addressed through DMF funds.

 

Many of the PRI members thought that it would be helpful if they were able to participate on DMF Committee meetings. However, except for three of them- Tiki Kisku the Zila Panchayat member from Hatadihi block, and Kasturi Oram, the Sarpanch from Bhadrasahi Panchayat  of Joda Block, and Sukanti Khamari, ZP member from Banspal block, none have been part of any sort of DMF meeting or discussions so far.However, all three of them have only attended one DMF meeting so far.

 

“This is a key concern as people’s participation and knowledge must improve” said Srestha Banerjee, Program Manager of Environmental Governance unit of Centre for Science and Environment. “Unless they are aware and their needs are captured through a consultative process DMF can never be successful in addressing the needs of people of mining-affected areas as the law required”  she added .

 

Naran Purty ,Sarpanch of Rasol Panchayat of Harichandanpur said that their area is mining-affected and therefore they would like to be part of discussions and provide inputs on what is required to improve local situation.

 

The PRI members also expressed concern of various critical issues in their areas that they hope can be addressed by DMF funds. Jayanti Banara ,ZP member from Joda block expressed concern over issues such as clean drinking water, primary healthcare facilities and doctors in hospitals and teachers in primary schools. Nine other members also present from Joda block expressed similar concerns. Jayanti Samal from Hatadihi block said that they had “only 2 PHCs for 7 Gram panchayats and most of the time doctors are not available at those two PHCs also”. Representatives from Hatadihi also expressed concerns over clean drinking water supply, drainage system, school infrastructure, electricity access in their areas. Overall, some of the fundamental issues flagged by the majority include clean water, primary health care, adequate doctors and staff, ambulances, adequate and qualified teachers in schools, local livelihoods and full-time employment.

 

The members also showed keen interest in understanding what can be some of the sustainable and viable projects related to clean water, healthcare, livelihood, electricity access in their areas. The aspiration was clearly for more durable infrastructure and resources. For example, for clean water purification mechanisms and purified water supply was demanded. Similarly to improve electricity access, PRI representatives discussed the possibility of solar power. There were also important feedbacks for improving healthcare and education resources. A key way identified was to increase the salary of health professionals and teachers to attract good people to the area.

 

Therefore there is a lot for DMF now to consider. From awareness raising programs, to undertaking bottom-up planning for capturing people’s needs in the right way, the DMF functionaries need to address all of this to make Kendujhar DMF a successful model.

 

Keonjhar DMF has 1000 crores in their DMF and it is expected to increase every year  but proper planning and necessary projects should be taken up by consulting people of mining affected panchayat through gram sabha is the key ,said srestha Banarjee while talking with  PRI members in the meeting .

 

 

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2017-09-26 03:50