Bhubaneswar, Sept 10 (LocalWire): Odisha government has decided to outsource technical manpower at the ground level to speed up the implementation of projects in mineral-rich districts of the state as shortage of skilled manpower is hindering the pace of District Mineral Fund’s progress.
DMF is earmarked to develop infrastructure, health and education, urban development, provide piped water supply, build pucca roads, enhance skill development and create new job opportunities in the areas affected by mining operations.
Chief Secretary Asit Kumar Tripathy reviewed the overall implementation of the DMF projects and said panchayatiraj, drinking water, rural development and water resources departments have been directed to deploy more technical people at the ground level by outsourcing.
Since the majority of the projects fall under the orbit of these departments, they need to be backed up by logistics in areas where mining activities are going on.
The financial sanctioning power of superintendent engineers has also been enhanced from Rs 6 crore to Rs 10 crore for speedy execution of the projects, he said.
As many as 12, 649 projects worth Rs 8074 crores have been taken up under DMF.
Of the said projects, 11,126 are being implemented in Angul, Jajpur, Jharsuguda, Keonjhar and Sundargarh, the top five districts in DMF collection and allocation, he said.
To accelerate the pace of the DMF, the state government will review the projects every month through video conferencing with district Collectors, he added.
Though flush with District Mineral Funds (DMF), Odisha government has often faced flak from various quarters including the Centre for struggling to spend only 30% of the collected funds earmarked for the welfare and development of mineral-bearing pockets of the state.
Of the Rs 4,395 crore funds collected from the mining companies during 2017-18 and 2018-19 financial year, the state has managed to spend only Rs 1,320 crores with the percentage of spending lying at a low 30%
The major mineral-bearing districts, according to officials, are Keonjhar, Sundargarh, Jajpur, Angul, Jharsuguda, Koraput, Mayurbhanj and Rayagada.
DMF funds are earmarked for developing infrastructure, health and education sectors, urban development, provide piped water supply, build pucca roads, enhance skill development and create new job opportunities in the areas affected by mining operations.