By Our Chief Reporter
Panaji (Goa) Goa Bench of Bombay High Court today asked the members of District Mineral Foundation to visit the mining affected areas and ascertain requirement of those areas.
The Division Bench of the High Court comprising of Justices Prithviraj Chavan and N M Jamdar today granted two weeks time for the State Mines and Geology department to file the compliance of the order.
The court on March 28 had observed that many mining affected villages and people are not aware about the existence of District Mineral Foundation, which is mandated to take up the works in these villages through the fund collected from the mining companies.
The mining industry in Goa has come to standstill from March 16 onwards after Supreme Court quashed 88 mining leases.
“The Division Bench which heard the matter about disposal of DMF funds today said that some members of the foundation can visit the affected areas,” State Advocate General Dattaprasad Lawande said.
“The court ruled that let the members know the problems faced by the villagers which are affected with the mining industry. It is the members of DMF who must understand these problems,” he said.
“The DMF members have been asked to visit the villages in particular Sonshi and Pissurlem of North Goa, which are worst affected,” he said.
Lawande said that the members have to visit these areas within a week and compliance report will have to be submitted to the High Court in two weeks.
The DMF currently has Rs 180.338 crore with it of which Rs 94.84 crore are collected from South and Rs 86.49 crore from North district.
Earlier, the court in its order dated March 28 had observed that many mining affected villages and people are not aware that there are substantial funds earmarked for their benefit.
“If the objective of the foundations is to provide the benefits to the mining affected and if the people are not aware that funds are available for their benefit, it is up to the State government and the foundation to inform them about the provisions. The foundations cannot be passive spectators, but must take proactive role to reach out to the needy,” the court had said.