District Mineral Foundation

Context: The Meghalaya State’s Revenue Minister, Kyrmen Shylla unveiled East Jaintia Hills district’s first Astroturf arena on the outskirts of Khliehriat. 

About the News 

  • Rat-hole coal mining shaved off much of the greenery around Khliehriat and adjoining Ladrymbai, together the hub of the black gold business less than two decades ago. 
  • To compensate for this the first Astroturf field in the East Jaintia Hills district is set amid abandoned rat-hole coal mines but the funding came from limestone mining. 
  • The Khliehriat stadium is probably the first in Meghalaya, if not the northeast, established from the District Mineral Foundation Trust (DMTF), set up from 30% of the royalty the government gets from the mining of major and minor minerals in a particular district. 
  • According to the district’s official website, the Jaintia Hills have a total deposit of 37.25 million tonnes of coal and 1,054 million tonnes of limestone.  
  • Meghalaya has about 9% of India’s total limestone reserves, feeding cement plants in the State and elsewhere. 

What is District Mineral Foundation (DMF)? 

  • Mining is an important income-generating activity in India and is a source of employment and raw materials for the manufacturing sector, construction, agriculture, and energy industries. However, while mining activities benefit the country, the policies and regulations, at times, undermine the local environment, livelihoods and people’s rights.  
  • Therefore, under the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Amendment Act 2015, the Central Government instituted the District Mineral Foundations (DMF) Funds in 2015.   
    • Section 9B of the act provides for the establishment of District Mineral Foundation (DMF) in any district affected by mining-related operations.  
    • The object of the DMF is to work for the interest and benefit of persons, and areas affected by mining-related operations. 
    • The funds collected in the mining-affected districts, managed by non-profit trusts, are to be used for the welfare of the mining-affected population, including the tribal and forest-dwelling communities and recognising them as partners in natural resource-led development and protecting the environment. 
    • A separate DMF is created in each district that has mining.  
    • The mining companies shall pay DMF 30 per cent of the royalty amount for leases granted before 2015 and 10 per cent for leases granted through the auction mechanism post-2015. 

What is Pradhan Mantri Khanij Kshetra Kalyan Yojana (PMKKKY)? 

  • The Pradhan Mantri Khanij Kshetra Kalyan Yojana (PMKKKY) has been launched by the Government which will be implemented through funds collected under DMF. 
  • Under the PMKKKY, the funds would be utilized to minimize the adverse effect of mining on the local environment, health, and socioeconomics and ensure long-term sustainable livelihoods for the affected mining communities.  
  • Under PMKKKY, 60 percent of the DMF fund has been allocated to high-priority areas such as drinking water supply, environment preservation, and pollution control, health care, education, women and child welfare, the welfare of aged and disabled people, skill development, and sanitation.  
  • The remaining fund can be used for other priority areas like physical infrastructure, irrigation, energy development, and other measures to enhance the mining area’s environmental quality.   

What is Rat Hole Mining? 

  • Rat-hole mining refers to the mining of minerals like coal, limestone, iron ore, etc., by drilling long tunnels downwards from the surface is called Rat-hole mining.   
  • Rat hole mining is technically simpler done by the tribals of Meghalaya.   
  • The National Green Tribunal banned rat hole mining in Jaintia Hills from April 2014. 
  • Impact of Rat Hole Mining 
    • Rat-hole mining activity had initiated environmental degradation in the region due to deforestation, biodiversity loss, pressure on local resources, and soil erosion.  
    • The damage caused to the local eco-system is permanent 

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