The state government has ordered an inquiry into alleged irregularities in distribution of funds to federation of women self help groups (SHGs) by the Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation. Minister of State for Urban Development Bhaskar Jadhav made the announcement in the legislative council after Shiv Sena MLC Neelam Gorhe raised the issue of distribution of funds by PCMC.
During the debate in the House,Gorhe sought to know whether the Debt Recovery Tribunal had sent a notice to two of the four federations of women SHGs that received grants of Rs 30 lakh each from the civic body over and above the Rs 50 lakh loan from a nationalised bank. Gorhe said neither do the four federations exist and nor were business ventures they proposed to start located. Jadhav said the state government would take action against officials found guilty. When contacted,Gorhe said,When I raised the issue,the government ordered an inquiry. But just a day back,the bank had returned over Rs 1 crore to the PCMC. The action will send out a strong message to all those self help groups formed for the sake of making money, she said.
Shiv Sena leader Sarang Kamtekar said,The issue was brought to fore by Shiv Sena corporator Seema Salve. After this,the municipal commissioner conducted an inquiry and found that four federations of the women self help groups had taken PCMC for a ride. After Sena MLC Neelam Gorhe took up the issue in the legislature,the PCMC has begun to take a closer look at the system that is in place, he said.
On April 11,Pune Newsline had reported that PCMC had sent a recovery notice to a nationalised bank asking for Rs 1.2 crore the bank disbursed to women SHGs violating conditions imposed by the civic body while promoting SHGs. In the notice to four women SHG mahasanghs (federations) PCMC pointed out that the bank had lent Rs 50 lakh to four mahasanghs for setting up businesses,as part of the civic policy to encourage women SHGs. Each mahasangh has 11 SHGs. The notice said the bank was supposed to give Rs 30 lakh subsidy to each mahasangh provided they repay their loans. However,the bank gave subsidy violating the condition imposed by the civic body that the subsidy be given only after the loans were repaid, the notice said.
Municipal Commissioner Shrikar Pardeshi said,Instead of giving back-end subsidy,the bank has given front-end subsidy. The bank should have given subsidy after the mahasanghs repaid their loans. This was one of the conditions imposed by the civic administration. But the bank gave the subsidy before the loans were repaid. Bank officials,other other hand,had argued,Whatever decisions we took were based on information from civic officials and mahasanghs. The bank has not done anything wrong.