Dhanbad Deputy Commissioner Uma Shankar Singh has ordered an audit and an impact assessment of utilisation of funds from the District Mineral Foundation Trust (DMFT) for the financial years 2017-2020. A letter issued by Singh asked for the audit as DMFT funds were being used for “buying of water tankers (and) sweeping machines”.
The order asks a committee to submit its report by December 26.
A source in the Mines Department said water tankers and sweeping machines are “lying unused” and the manner of the utilisation of DMFT funds indicated “major corruption”.
As per the Mine and Minerals Development Regulation (Amendment) Act, 2015, in every district affected by mining-related operations, the state government shall, by notification, establish a trust as a non-profit body to be called the District Mineral Foundation.
Internal documents accessed by The Indian Express says that since the DMFT was formed in 2015, the total collection of the trust in Jharkhand was Rs 6189.4 crore as of November 2020, of which 2922.97 crore has been spent so far. They say that 66.79 per cent of this collection has been utilised in two districts alone — Dhanbad and Ramgarh.
In Jharkhand, the Drinking Water and Sanitation Department accounts for around 91 per cent of total DMFT amount spent.
According to the DMFT collections and utilisation data accessed by The Indian Express, 16,746 schemes or projects took shape under the drinking water category, which have around 32 lakh beneficiaries, with Rs 3,973 crore sanctioned under this category, of which Rs 2265.99 crore has been spent.
Under the sanitisation category, 17 projects have been initiated, which benefited 7.9 lakh people. An amount of Rs 480.20 crore was sanctioned, of which Rs 377.11 crore has been spent.
A PIL has also been filed in the High Court on the utilisation of DMFT funds on people affected by mining who do not have access to safe drinking water.