The government’s crackdown on women’s shelter homes has begun throwing up serious flaws in the state’s monitoring system.
On Thursday, authorities flagged two shelter homes in Pratapgarh and one in Pilibhit of violating norms – they had allegedly fudged their records by inflating the number of inmates with them to get funds.
Both district administrations have written to the government requesting a detailed inquiry into the functioning of these shelter homes. They specifically requested the government to look into the funds sanctioned to them and recover the same if the charges are found to be true.
“We conducted surprise checks of two shelters on Wednesday – one in Astabhuja Nagar and the other in Achalpur. Their records stated that they had around 17 and 15 inmates, respectively. We found only one inmate in one while just three in the other. Their management claimed that they house destitute women who would go to work during the day and return in the evening,” said Shambhu Kumar, District Magistrate, Pratapgarh. “In the evening we sent another team to verify their claims. There were a few more women then but nowhere close to the 20 they had claimed.”
Kumar said that they recorded the statements of these women too and an initial enquiry revealed that the others mentioned in their records were never there. The officials could verify only eight from the Astabhuja Nagar home and four in the other.
“Those not found on the list are not missing. In fact initial inquiry has revealed that the management had given fudged figures to get more funds from the government,” said Kumar, adding that they have sought a detailed inquiry from the government. “None of the inmates complained of any harassment.”
Speaking to The Indian Express, sub-divisional magistrate (city) Pratapgarh Satya Prakash Singh informed that the Astabhuja Nagar shelter home was run by a person named Rama Mishra and the other by Indrajeet Singh.
He informed that a letter for conditional release of Rs 4.27 lakh funds to Mishra’s home was issued by the department in February this year, it had lapsed because the organisation could not fulfil basic conditions. Similarly, funds worth Rs 5.13 lakh was issued for Singh’s organisation in November 2017 but they have not been able to confirm, whether the amount had been deposited in their account.
Meanwhile, Congress MLA from Pratapgarh Aradhana Mishra alleged that Rama Mishra was formerly district BJP Mahila Morcha head and had also been a corporator on BJP ticket. “If anomalies are coming in the shelter home, then BJP should answer.”
OP Tripathi, BJP Pratapgarh president, said, “I do not know about the past but there is no individual named Rama Mishra on any official post in the district committee of the Party. I cannot say about the past.”
In Pilibhit, the district administration found that the women’s shelter home had 30 inmates on their rolls but only seven could be verified after a detailed inquiry. Pilibhit district magistrate Akhilesh Mishra said, “We found that the organisation had inflated its figure probably hoping to get funds from the government.”
He further informed that it was found that organisation continued to keep names of inmates on their rolls liong after they had left.
Asked if any FIR would be registered against the organisation, Mishra said, “As of now it is a case of attempt to financial bungling. They informed that there is a provision of Rs 50 per inmate per day and Rs 400 per inmate monthly as miscellaneous fund. The provision is of post payment based on the claim but so far they have not made the claim in this financial year. May be they planned to do it later this year.”
He said that he has also written to the government for a detailed inquiry.
The latest crackdown comes after shelter home inmates in Bihar’s Muzaffarnagar and UP’s Deoria districts complained of sexual assault.