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PCMC asks bank to refund subsidy given to women SHGs

‘First important step to deter SHGs from being formed only to get funds’

Written by Express News Service | Published: April 11, 2013 2:55:40 am

The Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC) has sent a recovery notice to the Bank of Baroda,Pimpri branch asking for Rs 1.2 crore the bank disbursed to women’s self-help groups (SHGs) violating conditions imposed by the civic body while promoting SHGs.

The notice sent jitters among four women SHG mahasanghs.

In the notice,PCMC pointed out that the bank had lent Rs 50 lakh to four mahasanghs for setting up businesses,as part of the civic body 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.

When contacted,Municipal Commissioner Shrikar Pardeshi confirmed PCMC has sent a notice seeking recovery of subsidy amount from the bank. “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 has given subsidy before the loans were repaid,” Pardeshi said.

Bank officials,other other hand,said,“Whatever decisions we took were based on information from civic officials and mahasanghs. The bank has not done anything wrong.”

However,the civic chief said only after information is received can they decide.

Pardeshi said in this case,it has been brought to their notice that there has been misuse of funds. He stopped short of saying whether PCMC would take action against mahasanghs. But civic officials said PCMC was planning to file a complaint against the bank if it did not repay the amount.

All the four mahasanghs are incidentally associated with NCP leaders.

Corporator Seema Savle had pointed out that funds sanctioned by the bank have been misused. Two of the mahasanghs never opened any businesses and the other two opened them for a while and closed them. “One of the companies supposed to supply raw material and purchase finished goods from mahasanghs itself disappeared,leaving them in the lurch. On the basis of the agreement of the company with the mahasanghs,the bank granted them loans,” said Savle.

Women activists said this is the first significant step taken by PCMC to prevent misuse of civic funds.

“What has happened over the years is that many women’s SHGs have taken funding from PCMC but have closed down or have not been functioning. So basically several of them have been formed to just get the civic body funding,” said Surekha Gaikwad associated with a SHG.

Another activist Usha Landge,a former member of PCMC tree authority,said,“PCMC should implement the Marshal Company model. Nearly 70 SHGS are associated with the company. Each is active throughout the year. The women imparting training,counsel or conduct several social activities,” she said. Anita Landge of Damini Bachat Gat,said,”Conducting health surveys are also important part of our job. We women activists conduct surveys in a particular area to find out the exact problem faced by women. The surveys become helpful even for PCMC to take corrective measures,” she said.

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