Voluntary organizations mines, minerals & People, Sakhi Trust, Keystone Foundation and Dhaatri Trust, and several community organizations, took part in a state-level consultation on Women Affected by Mining and District Mineral Fund in Karnataka. Joint declaration at the end of consultation:
Several mining affected communities, women, NGOs, legal and medical experts came together for a Karnataka State level Consultation on the 19th of August, 2017 at Indian Social Institute, Bengaluru to deliberate on the need for proper and speedier implementation of the District Mineral Fund and the Karnataka special fund, the KMERC.
The introductory address at the Consultation was given by Prof. Rajiv Goud, spokesperson of the Congress Party of India and by Shri K.C.Kondaiah, former Member of Parliament, both of whom shared their concern regarding the impacts of mining, especially illegal mining, the non-compliance of mining companies to environmental and social laws and the non-implementation of the District Mineral Fund and the Karnataka Special fund related to illegal mining. They agreed to take up the issue and the memorandum submitted by the civil society groups to the Chief Minister and take it forward within the party.
The affected communities from the three districts of Bellary, Chitradurg and Tumkur presented their problems and the blatant violations resulting in serious losses to their agriculture, social security and health.
This state level consultation debated on the constitution, procedures, administration and implementation of the DMF. Karnataka has set up DMFs in all districts and funds are being collected. However, to our knowledge, little else is being done. In most cases, if the DMF committee has been set up, it hasn’t yet met.
The Pradhan Mantri Khanij Kshetra Kalyan Yojana (PMKKKY), notified in Sep 2015, applies to the utilization of the DMF funds, and is mandatory for states to implement. The PMKKKY provides for
(a) mining affected people to be identified in consultation with gram sabhas
(b) mining affected areas identified in two categories (i) directly affected areas, and (ii) indirectly affected areas, and
(c) the list of people affected and areas affected must be maintained by the DMF.
For the utilization of the DMF funds, the PMKKKY requires at least 60% of the funds be utilized for high priority areas (drinking water supply, environment preservation and pollution control measures, health care, education, welfare of women and children, welfare of aged and disabled people, skill development and sanitation.
The balance funds can be utilized towards physical infrastructure, irrigation, energy/watershed development and other measures to enhance environment. Further, for the districts of Bellary, Chitradurg and Tumkur, the Karnataka Mining Environment Restoration Corporation (KMERC) has been tasked with implementation of the Comprehensive Environment Plan for Mining Impacted Zone (CEPMIZ).
The CEPMIZ has drawn up a 10 year plan requiring Rs. 15,742.35 crores, of which Rs. 11,842 crores is to be met from the inflows to KMERC. The SC has given in principle approval for mining infrastructure such as conveyor belts, railway sidings and sub-lines, but has kept other proposals pending awaiting the start of implementation of the infrastructure projects.
The pending projects are for public health, education, water supply & quality, transport & communication, agriculture & allied activities, drainage & sanitation, woman & child welfare, forest, ecology & environment, strengthening forest check-posts, skill development & tourism (Rs. 7,142.35 crores).
Given the above situation, the Consultation participants, submitted the following recommendations to the state government:
- The Karnataka Notification No: CI 2O7 MMN 2015 (P-1), Bengaluru, Dated:11.01.2016 needs to be restructured to make the planning and implementation a representative body of the Gram Sabhas and Gram panchayats, affected communities, NGOs and governance institutions at the district level. This would enable more representative, transparent, timely and appropriate actions.
- The micro plan for DMF should be made by the respective Gram sabhas and they must be involved right from participatory micro planning at village level to implementation, audit and monitoring for relevant utilization of the DMF
- DMF and KMERC funds need to be treated as separate funds and not one and the same in the Karnataka state treasury, as this makes the finance department reluctant to sanction disbursements. An endowment fund should be set up from each DMF utilizing the unused funds. This should be invested on the lines of the Norway oil fund, and the income distributed to the mining affected people. As projects are developed under the DMF/PMKKKY, this can be drawn down to the extent of 60% (high priority areas under the PMKKKY). The balance endowment fund should remain in perpetuity, or until mining continues.
- Special programmes are required for devadasi women for their upliftment in the district of Bellary, Chitradurga and Tumkur.