SC/ST fund embezzlement : KDF seeks probe

(Special Story)
(By Mukundan C. Menon)

Thiruvananthapuram, March 7 : The President of Kerala Dalit Federation (KDF) Mr. K. Ramabhadran urged the State Government to order a vigilance probe into the alleged misappropriation and corruption in the spending of SC/ST development funds. He quoted the report by the Assembly panel on SC/ST welfare headed by ruling CPM leader C. P. Balan Vaidyar in which the allegation of misappropriation of funds to the tune of crores of rupees was disclosed.

Although petitions to various authorities, including Chief Minister E. K. Nayanar, were submitted, no action had been taken so far, Mr. Ramabhadran pointed out.

According to the KDF leader, the Central Government had allocated a total of Rs. 1,920 crore during the 9th Five Year Plan period for various development programmes concerning SC/STs in Kerala. However, the State SC/ST Welfare Minister, Mr. K. Radhakrishnan, had stated that only Rs. 150 crore had been spent through the People's Planning programme. Even from this amount, Rs. 100 crore was spent for other purposes, Ramabhadran alleged.

Meanwhile, the State Assembly today witnessed opposition walk out over the issue of misutilisation of funds by the Government collected in the name of Kargil martyrs. Earlier, Finance Minister T. Sivadasa Menon said that a only of Rs. 1.82 crore out of total Rs. 13 crore collected in the name of Kargil war were disbursed to the relatives of killed soldiers. Countering Opposition criticism, Minister Menon took pains to justify government's action saying that the remaining around Rs. 12 crore could not be disbursed since "more soldiers from Kerala were not killed at Kargil"! Provoked by this comment of the even otherwise controversial Minister, the entire Opposition led by Congress leader A. K. Antony rose in protest demanding withdrawal of the derogatory remark ridiculing the martyrs who sacrificed their lives for the country, before staging walk-out.

Referred by:Mukundan C. Menon
Published on: March 7, 2001
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