The Gujarat government plans to reach out to an estimated 90 lakh people affected by mining operations in the state. For this, the Commissionerate of Geology and Mining has collected over Rs 335 crore from miners under the Pradhan Mantri Khanij Kshetra Kalyan Yojana (PMKKKY).
Under the PMKKKY scheme — launched in September 2015 — the district mineral foundations (DMFs), set up in every district, collects 10 per cent of the royalty payable by miners. The money collected is used for welfare activities. As on January 2018, Gujarat has given out 7,694 mining leases, allowing excavation of both minor and major minerals.
“There are an estimated 70-90 lakh people living in 1,982 mining-affected villages of Gujarat. We have 2,288 PMKKKY projects, worth Rs 178 crore, that are currently in progress in these villages. Most of it are in sectors of education, drinking water supply and healthcare. In the last two years, we have completed 692 works worth Rs 38 crore,” Roopwant Singh, Commissioner of Geology and Mining, Government of Gujarat, said.
Kutch, Jamnagar, Dev Bhoomi Dwarka and Chhota Udepur are some of the districts where most of these PMKKKY projects are under way. One of the objectives of the scheme is to minimise or mitigate the adverse impact during and after mining on the environment, health and socio-economic conditions of people living near the mining areas.
“Villagers living near the mines suffer from a range of respiratory illness, including tuberculosis. We are currently conducting a study on the health iof these mining-affected families,” said Veena Padia, director & strategic advisor, District Mineral Foundation, Gandhinagar.