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7 yrs on, money yet to reach PM’s fund
Rs55 lakh relief sum collected for Kargil from South Eastern Coalfields staff; Rs50 lakh more unaccounted
Seven years after all its employees donated a day’s salary during the Kargil war to the Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund, some Rs55 lakh in donations is still sitting idle in a bank account of South Eastern Coalfields Ltd (SECL).
An additional Rs50 lakh, collected by SECL even earlier, for earthquake victims in Latur (1993) and Jabalpur (1997) and the Andhra Pradesh cyclone (1996), has neither been fully accounted for until now nor properly audited.
The money collected for Kargil is in a State Bank of India (SBI) account that is run jointly by some members of SECL’s management and representatives of trade unions, who are all part of a joint consultative committee.
SECL, which has 80,000 employees, is one of eight subsidiaries of Coal India Ltd (CIL), and the Rs1.05 crore in question is part of Rs7.5 crore collected by the organization for the PM’s fund.
When contacted by Mint, Coal India chairman Partha S. Bhattacharya confirmed that he recently received a letter from the managing director of SECL seeking to deposit around Rs50 lakh with the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), which was collected “from employees in the past” and deposited in a bank account. “We plan to soon ask for a date with the PMO in order to deposit the amount,” he said.
Records show that SECL managing director B.K. Sinha had written, only in February, to Bhattacharya, noting that the money collected during the Kargil war was being held in an SECL account “in the absence of clear guidelines from CIL”.
“Since this is a very delicate issue, decision is required to be taken as to how this amount should be utilized, otherwise it may invite adverse comments from the general masses,” Sinha wrote.
In the interview with Mint, Bhattacharya conceded that CIL “did not do strict monitoring of the accounts pertaining to relief works as these pertained to employee contributions in which trade unions had a larger role.”
Bhattacharya also told Mint that he would now be ordering an audit of the money collected for relief works by all Coal India subsidiaries.
In a separate interview, P.N. Das, director, finance, SECL, told Mint that his organization was still in the process of depositing what he dubbed as “excess money”, which SECL had collected for relief work, with the PMO.
“There was a surplus of around Rs50 lakh which we had deposited in a bank account,” he said. “We plan to soon send it across to the Prime Minister’s Office.”
This money was deposited in the bank account, instead of being transferred to the fund, between March 2004 and May 2006 in the form of fixed deposits. It is unclear why SECL kept this amount while it sent other fund amounts to CIL and why it needed the PMO’s permission or directions to deposit the Rs55 lakh.
When asked about the withdrawals from the account and the exact amount that had so far been transferred to the PM’s fund so far, Das declined to comment. It is also unclear what will happen to the interest generated on the Rs55 lakh in the SBI account.
Much of this prolonged delay in depositing the amount into the fund was disclosed as response to a right to information (RTI) application by Muzibur Rehman, who works with a hospital attached to SECL. Rehman couldn’t be reached for comment and it wasn’t clear what prompted him to file the application.
The PMO, in turn, stated it had received around Rs20 crore from Coal India, which includes contributions from all its eight subsidiaries.
“However, this office is not aware of the break-up of the collections and methodology of such collections,” said Kamal Dayani, director with the PMO, in response to Rehman’s RTI application. It is unclear how much Coal India and its subsidiaries collected for the fund.
As for the Rs50 lakh collected from employees towards the Latur earthquake relief efforts, SECL initially said it was Rs50 lakh but, in a subsequent statement sent by the RTI appellate authority as a footnote, the amount collected in 1993 was shown as Rs70 lakh. No explanation was provided as to why there was an increase.
Of this amount, SECL claims to have sent tents and blankets worth Rs13 lakh to Rewa in Madhya Pradesh for flood relief in 2003 and relief material worth Rs8 lakh to those affected by drought in that state’s Vidisha district in 2006. This amount, of around Rs21 lakh, was withdrawn from a consolidated fund originally set up during the 1996 Andhra cyclone and the 1997 Jabalpur earthquake.
This SECL spending was never audited. The union-management joint consultative committee at SECL, which managed the money, didn’t make these particular accounts public nor did it ever inform coalfields employees that money from the original fund was being used for other projects.
The Prime Minister’s Fund was established by Jawaharlal Nehru in January 1948 to assist displaced persons from Pakistan. The fund is now utilized to render immediate relief to families of those killed in natural calamities like floods, cyclones and earthquakes, as well as victims of major accidents and riots. The fund consists entirely of voluntary public contributions and get no budgetary support. The corpus of the fund is invested with banks in fixed deposits and disbursements are made with the approval of the Prime Minister.
7 yrs on, money yet to reach PM?s fund - livemint
Coal India withheld Rs10 cr from us: PMO
Coal India withheld Rs. 10 Crore from us: PMO
The Prime Minister's Office (PMO) has confirmed that Coal India Ltd, a public sector undertaking, has illegally diverted at least a quarter of the funds that it had collected for over a decade and meant for the Prime Minister's Relief Fund.
Responding to a right to information (RTI) application, the PMO said it received only Rs30 crore out of Rs40 crore that Coal India Ltd, a public sector undertaking, claimed to have collected towards the fund by deducting a day's wages from its 80,000 employees.
It is still unclear what has happened to the money that didn't reach the fund. Coal India said it would respond for this story but never did.
Coal India collected the funds on several occasions, using either natural calamities, such as earthquakes and the tsumani, or the India- Pakistan war over Kargil. Mint reported on 20 June that one of the subsidiaries of Coal India, South Eastern Coalfields Ltd, had diverted such funds to what was dubbed as a joint consultative committee account in State Bank of India run by a group of union leaders and officers at the firm.
Questions about the missing funds started arising when South Eastern had to reply to an RTI application filed by Muzibur Rehman, an employee. Following Mint's story, Coal India chairman Partha S.
Bhattacharya said the public sector company would seek an COAL INDIA SCAM Missing crores The PMO confirms that it has received only Rs30 crore out of the Rs40 crore Coal India Ltd had collected towards the PM's Relief Fund by deducting a day's wages from its 80,000 employees.
Story so far Diversion of funds by a Coal India subsidiary-South Eastern Coalfields Ltd-had come to light earlier following an RTI application filed by an employee.
Who's responsible? PMO claims it's not responsible for that part of the funds which have not been handed over to it. appointment with the PMO to deposit the funds that had been held back. Subsequent to the Mint story, the Central Information Commission (CIC) had directed the PMO to inquire into the allegations and submit a report, which it did last week. The report says Coal India had collected around Rs7 crore in 2005 towards the relief fund and aimed at rehabilitating people affected by the earthquake in Jammu and Kashmir. That money wasn't deposited in the fund.
Coal India also authorized purchase of what it claims to be relief material but without seeking approval from the PMO. That spending by South Eastern Coalfields also wasn't audited.
Similarly, during the 1990 Kargil war, Coal India collected around Rs7 crore from its employees. That money was deposited into the fund only this year and "after the initiation of this inquiry", according to the PMO report. "We are not custodians of that part of the funds which have not been passed on to the fund," said an official in the PMO, who did not want to be named. "So, that makes it difficult for us to suo motu (or on its own) order an investigation. We may also look at how we can better the process through which funds are sent by donors. But that will have to be after the CIC passes its order."
One of the leaders of the RTI movement and a member of the National Campaign for People's Right to Information, Shekhar Singh, says the PMO should get the matter investigated. "If somebody claims to be collecting funds towards the PM's Relief Fund and diverts funds, whose responsibility is to get the matter investigated? It is the PMO's duty," he said.
The Prime Minister's Fund was established by Jawaharlal Nehru in January 1948 to assist displaced persons from Pakistan. The fund is now utilized to render immediate relief to victims of natural calamities, major accidents and riots. The fund consists of voluntary public contributions. The corpus of the fund is invested in fixed deposits and disbursements are made with PM's approval.
Read our two related stories, which appeared on 20 June and 10 August, at www.livemint.com/relieffund.htm
Live Mint e-paper
BY K.P. NARAYANA KUMAR NEW DELHI
- 10-08-2007 #3
Re: 7 yrs on, money yet to reach PM’s fund
Thats a large amount of public money left unaccounted.
- 10-08-2007 #4
Re: 7 yrs on, money yet to reach PM’s fund
Coal India in dock
Fails to transfer relief funds collected from employees
Coal India Ltd (CIL), the largest coal producing company in the world that accounts for 85 per cent of India's production, is in the dock for suspected financial irregularities and violation of Income Tax laws. In an inquiry conducted by the Prime Minister's Office (PMO), it has been found that CIL had collected crores of rupees from employees as contribution to the Prime Minister's National Relief Fund (PMNRF) and National Defence Fund (NDF) but has till date not deposited the full sum.
The inquiry, which was initiated on August 6, has found that collections made for welfare of 2005 J&K earthquake victims have still not been transmitted to the PMNRF. The funds collected for welfare of Kargil martyrs' families in 1999 were transmitted on August 27, 2008 after the inquiry was initiated.
The matter has come to light through an application filed under Right to Information (RTI) Act. After applicant Muzibur Rehman expressed his doubt that the contributions had not been deposited in the PMNRF, Central Information Commission (CIC) had asked the PMO to conduct an inquiry.
Director (PMO) DPS Sandhu has submitted his report to CIC, a copy of which is with The Pioneer. The inquiry report clearly indicates that CIL had collected Rs 40.65 crore from its employees for contribution to PMNRF. The contributions were given for Kargil martyrs in 1999, victims of 2001 Orissa cyclone, Gujarat earthquake 2001, 2004 tsunami and 2005 J&K earthquake. As per the inquiry report, contributions worth Rs 10.65 crore have still not been transferred to the PMNRF.
The company had collected Rs 7.25 crore for contribution to the NDF for the welfare of families of Kargil martyrs. However, it transferred only Rs 7.08 crore.
The report says: "Insofar as interest on the funds lying with CIL, it has been informed that no separate fund has been created for PMNRF at CIL and the fund has been kept with CIL as working capital." Keeping funds meant for PMNRF is against the norms. The inquiry report says: "The delay and unauthorised use as working capital has also caused loss of interest to PMNRF."
The report lambasts CIL and says: "It has been established that funds meant for PMNRF and NDF have not been forwarded to this office in time. Part of the funds collected at the time of Kargil war for NDF have been transmitted as late as August 27, 2007 after initiation of this inquiry."
This is not all. PMNRF contributions worth Rs 7.02 crore collected in 2005 meant for J&K earthquake victims have not been transferred till date. The PMO inquiry has found that in case of Gujarat earthquake, CIL has submitted more than the collected contributions, thereby flooding PMNRF with unaccounted for money. While it collected Rs 10.45 crore, CIL deposited Rs 12 crore. The report says: "CIL deposited excess funds amounting to Rs 1.56 crore more than the actual collection. The source of this excess collection is not clear."
The report has pointed out that PMNRF funds have been forwarded to other organisations and "relief material has been purchased from PMNRF fund, without any authorisation from PMNRF". Employees who contributed to PMNRF have claimed income tax relief as well. Sandhu says in the report: "It was also observed that income tax relief was given to the employees who have contributed to PMNRF, without transmission of funds to this office and without requisite receipt from PMNRF. This could be a violation of income tax laws."
The Pioneer > Home
Coal India keeps staff donations for disaster victims
The state-run Coal India Limited (CIL) collected a large amount by way of the staffs' contribution to the Prime Minister's National Relief Fund (PMNRF) for disaster victims, but is yet to credit over Rs.100 million to the fund, an employee has found out using the Right to Information (RTI) Act.
About 450,000 employees of the CIL donated over Rs.406 million to the PMNRF for providing relief to victims of natural disasters like the Indian Ocean tsunami, the Orissa super cyclone and the Gujarat and Jammu and Kashmir earthquakes, Muzibur Rahman, a 38-year-old employee of South-Eastern Coal Field Limited (SECFL), a subsidiary of CIL, told reporters here Monday.
'It's a shock to all government employees who made the donation from their salaries for a greater cause. Instead of a month, it took a year to get the details from both the CIL and the PMNRF,' Rahman said.
'After filing a number of RTI applications in the CIL and the PMNRF, I came to know about the break-up of donations given and donations received in the relief fund. The PMNRF has enquired about the irregularities and confirmed the mismanagement by the CIL,' he said.
He also distributed papers received through the RTI.
A letter signed by Davinder P.S. Sandhu, the director in the Prime Minister's Office (PMO), said: '...It is clear that Rs.406,525,163.54 was due as contribution to the PMNRF but only Rs.300,000,000 has been contributed to the PMNRF.'
The letter also said that while over Rs.47 million was diverted to other funds, over Rs.59 million was 'still lying with the CIL'.
'It is evident from the CIL notification that the funds have been collected for the PMNRF and employees have been given income tax relief based on the contribution so made. In so far as the interest on the funds lying with the CIL, it has been informed that no separate fund has been created for the PMNRF at the CIL and the fund has been kept with the CIL as working capital,' Sandhu said in the letter dated Sep 14.
As per the letters from the PMO, over Rs.70 million donated for the Jammu and Kashmir quake of 2005 has not been credited to the relief fund till date.
Elaborating on the mismanagement, RTI activist and Magsaysay Award winner Arvind Kejriwal said: 'The PMO needs to file a case against the CIL. This is a clear case of cheating by the CIL.
'Rahman has been facing harassment at his office in Chhattisgarh after he moved the RTI applications. He has been transferred twice within one year. I think, the PMO should take strong action against the CIL,' Kejriwal told IANS.
He said it was shocking that instead of taking action, the PMO said that the mismanagement was on the CIL's part and not on its side.
'Our prime minister is in charge of the coal ministry and the office cannot shed its responsibility. Unless the CIL is punished, people will hesitate to donate to the PMNRF, which has been a source of relief for many disasters.
'We are forwarding a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh with copy of all documents and expect justice from him,' he said.
Rahman said he was waiting to get details of their donations on account of several natural disasters in the past.
'Over a decade, the CIL authorities are mismanaging employees' donations,' he said.
Supreme Court advocate Prashant Bhushan said: 'The RTI act has the provision of availing information within a month but they took almost a year (in providing information). This is shocking, shameful and calls for immediate action.'
Monday October 22, 07:42 PM
Coal India keeps staff donations for disaster victims - Yahoo! India News[/RIGHT]
- 10-24-2007 #6
Re: 7 yrs on, money yet to reach PM’s fund
“No irregularities in Coal India funds collected for relief”
Money collected for PM’s Relief Fund disbursed, say TUs
KOLKATA: Coal India Ltd. chairman P.S. Bhattacharyya has denied any irregularity in the funds collected by his company and its subsidiaries for the Prime Minister’s Relief Fund over the last few years for victims of the tsunami, the Orissa cyclone, the Gujarat earthquake and for the Kargil war victims.
Two Central trade unions –— the Indian National Trade Union Congress and the Centre of Indian Trade Unions –— have taken up cudgels for the CIL on the issue of allegations of diversion of funds collected from workers. The matter was probed by the Prime Minister’s Office after the issue was raised by a CIL employee.
M.K. Pandhe, CITU president, said funds collected by the public sector CIL were in keeping with the decision of the joint committee of the trade unions and the management (which is the apex body for all labour and workmen-related matters). And money collected from the workers for relief operations could not be diverted by the CIL. “The trade unions in the coal industry will not allow any funds diversion, since the workers have contributed the money for a specific purpose,” he said.
The former INTUC general secretary, Rajendra Singh, and the president of the Indian National Mineworkers Federation have said that the collections and deposits were being audited by statutory auditors and the CAG.
Documents show that over the years, Rs. 40.89 crores was raised by Coal India through recoveries from its 4 lakh workers for extending relief operations during various calamities –— natural and other disasters. Between July 1999 and August 2007, the CIL contributed Rs. 37.25 crores to the Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund and Rs. 4.7 crores to the relief funds of Chief Ministers of West Bengal, Bihar and Himachal Pradesh. Accordingly, of the Rs. 7.25 crores raised for the Kargil Fund, Rs. 7.09 crores was paid by December 1999 and the balance Rs. 0.16 lakh was paid in August 2007.
The Rs. 10 crores raised for tsunami relief was remitted to the Prime Minister’s fund in January 2005, Rs. 12 crores remitted for the Gujarat earthquake victims and Rs. 8 crores for the Orissa cyclone victims between December 1999 and April 2001.
However, allegations of funds retention and diversion were raised in the Rs 7.16 crores collected for the Jammu and Kashmir earthquake victims. While it was first decided in a meeting in November 2005 to utilise the money to adopt villages in affected areas, later it was decided to contribute the money to the PM”s fund.
Mr. Pandhe said it was first decided to carry out relief operations directly, since experience showed that the fund did not always reach the victims. Although the CIL management initially agreed to the trade union’s proposal on direct payment to victims, it was later felt that money collected under the PM’s Relief Funds could not be spent directly. Hence the delay in remitting the fund.
Mr. Bhattacharyya also admitted to this delay and said that the funds had now been completely disbursed.
The Hindu : National : “No irregularities in Coal India funds collected for relief”
Showdown looms over relief funds mismatch
NEW DELHI: The coal ministry headed by PM Manmohan Singh and trade unions of Coal India Limited (CIL) look headed for a showdown over the alleged mismatch and delay in depositing the money collected by the public sector undertaking in the name of PM's National Relief Fund (PMNRF) and for other similar funds.
To make matters worse, the Central Information Commission (CIC), CIL chairman P Bhattacharya and the PMO are also set to join the controversy in which all sides have been blaming one another without anyone ready to bear the brunt.
On behalf of the CIL trade unions, CPM-affiliated CITU's president M K Pandhe is spearheading the battle, who has accused the PMO of not doing "sufficient enquiries" before making the information on "diversion" of relief fund public.
To add to the mess, the coal ministry on Wednesday held that although no case of misuse of funds was made out, "the irregularities that have occurred merit action". "Coal ministry has directed the CIL chairman to undertake a detailed inquiry in the matter, identify individual responsibility for lapses and initiate appropriate action against the guilty urgently," an official release said, adding that CIL has also been asked to ensure that in future, monies collected for PMNRF are deposited without delay.
The CIC had on Monday sought remedial action from PMO over the "misappropriation" of money contributed to PMNRF, basing its advisory on the findings of a probe into the matter by PMO itself which indicated that out of a total of Rs 40.65 crore collected through contributions from CIL employees, the relief fund received only Rs 30 crore. The finding was strongly challenged by the CIL chairman.
These monies were collected for providing relief to soldiers' families affected by the Kargil war, besides those hit by tsunami, Gujarat earthquake, Orissa cyclone, Kashmir earthquake and floods in different parts of the country.
[RIGHT]25 Oct 2007,TNN[/RIGHT]