Tribune News Service
Shimla, June 29
In order to provide relief to affected people in mining areas, the state government has decided to constitute a Himachal Pradesh district mineral foundation trust, which will ensure development and preservation of mining-affected areas. Crores of rupees will be available for the welfare of people and development of such areas.
Industries Minister Mukesh Agnihotri said the state Cabinet had approved the Himachal Pradesh District Mineral Foundation Trust Rules which envisaged establishing district mineral foundation trust in each district of the state.
Agnihotri said the trust would be a non-profit body headed by the Deputy Commissioner of each district with Conservator Forest, Superintending Engineer (SE) PWD, SE, IPH, chief medical officer, general manager, DIC, mining officer and four public representatives as its members. The trust would be established under the provisions of Section 9 B of the Mining and Mineral Amendment Act, 2015, he added.
The Industries Minister said there were directly and indirectly affected families or areas due to mining operations which had to be rehabilitated properly and for ensuring their welfare and betterment, the rules define the affected families, displaced families, directly affected areas and indirectly affected areas which would be the prime beneficiaries of the trust fund.
He said the trust would have perennial source of income which would be charged from the lessees of major minerals and minor minerals at different rates. He said limestone was the main major mineral of the state and minor mineral included sand, grit and stone.
Agnihotri said in case of limestone mines, 10 per cent of the royalty paid would be charged extra and credited to the District Mineral Foundation Trust Fund from the leases granted after January 12, 2015. In case of leases granted for limestone before January 12, 2015, 30 per cent of the royalty paid shall be credited to the trust fund, he said. These charges would be levied over and above the royalty to be paid to government, he said.
The minister said in case of minor minerals, Rs 10 per tonne of the minerals dispatched shall be charged over and above the royalty and credited to the trust fund. He said the trust fund should be spent on the purposes defined in the Rules and not less than 50 per cent should be spent on the directly affected areas.
The trust fund could also be spent to the extent of 20 per cent for providing direct monetary benefits to directly affected persons in form of cash to be distributed to the women head of the family on monthly or yearly basis, he added. He said the balance funds could be used for improving basic amenities in the affected mining areas such as drinking water supply schemes, undertaking environment preservation and pollution control measure, healthcare, education, construction of toilet blocks, care of aged and disabled people, skill development, irrigation scheme, rainwater harvesting system or any other major works for improving the ecology and environment of the region.
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