UNMOVED BY the gangrape incidents that have raised a question over women safety, the Chandigarh Administration has failed to utilise the Nirbhaya fund allocated by the Centre for women safety with 65 per cent of it remaining unspent so far.
According to the details shared by the empowered committee of Ministry of Women and Child Development with the Ministry of Home Affairs, Union Territory utilised only 35 per cent of the funds.
Since 2014, a total amount of Rs 7.46 crore has been allocated to the Chandigarh Administration but UT has been able to utilise only Rs 2.60 crore.
When contacted, UT Adviser Manoj Parida said, “I will just get it checked.”
After the Delhi gangrape shook the nation in 2012, the Centre had announced a dedicated fund in its budget in 2013 aimed at enhancing the safety and security of women in the country. This fund was meant to support all the initiatives taken by the government and NGOs working towards protecting the dignity and ensuring safety of women in India. Nirbhaya (fearless) was the pseudonym given to the 2012 Delhi gangrape victim.
However, the Chandigarh Administration kept sitting over the funds.
The chairman of Federation of Sectors Welfare Association of Chandigarh, Baljinder Singh Bittu, said, “This amount is huge. If they want, they can even install panic buttons almost at every bus queue shelter and all other vulnerable points. But they do not want to make any effort to utilise it.”
Social activist Ajay Jagga has written to UT Administrator V P Singh Badnore about the unutilised funds.
November 25 was observed as the International Day for Elimination of Violence against Women. The day was observed across the world. Despite several requests to the UT Administration from different activists to at least hold awareness sessions in colleges or other educational institutes, where these funds could be utilised partly, nothing was done.
Under the Nirbhaya Fund, the proposed projects should have features like direct impact on safety and security concerns of women.
Situation in Punjab, Haryana worse
The situation of Punjab and Haryana is pretty bad. Punjab was allotted Rs 20.47 crore and Haryana was allotted Rs 16.71 crore of which they have utilised Rs 3 crore and Rs 6.06 crore, respectively.