Representation to the Gujarat government to release District Mineral Fund (DMF) fund for COVID-19 pandemic rehabilitation, by Rebbapragada Ravi, chairperson, and Ashok Shrimali, secretary-general, mines, minerals & People (mm&P), and Gujarat high court advocate Anandvardhan Yagnik:
The world is facing an extraordinary and massive health, social, economic and humanitarian crisis due to COVID-19 pandemic. While many of us have safety nets including job security, insurance, food security and shelter; for many this healthcare calamity has aggravated their situation. The mine workers, the people displaced due to mining, mining affected communities are experiencing a sudden loss of income on account of unforeseen break from employment or occupation and complete lockdown. Analysts can foresee that the impact will be unimaginable and severe particularly on the unorganized and informal sector workers that constitute more than 95% of Indian working population.
However, on a priority basis people will have to find financial resources to address the unfolding sudden health emergencies, particularly in the context of absence of universal public health care system. In India, in the absence of adequate public healthcare system, people spend from their pocket to meet regular or emergency medical expenses. There should be a mechanism to compensate for the sudden acute loss of income, to take care of emerging medical exigencies.
In this regard, the funds present in the District Mineral Foundations should be used to help rehabilitate mining workers facing extreme economic impact due to COVID-19 pandemic. The mining affected areas and communities and daily wage mine workers are in dire need of social security as there is inability to find money to buy daily food items, paying for rent, electricity, water, mobile charges, clothing and other essential daily expenses. We request district administration of the mining affected areas to take cognizance and act accordingly. The district administration can take help from local NGOs to help in identification of the beneficiaries.