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What they say...

Manish Tiwari speaks to Punjab Information and Public Relations Director Tejveer Singh. Singh said he strongly believed that the funds collected in the name of relief or a project must be spent for the specific purpose.

chandigarh Updated: Dec 02, 2007 16:02 IST
Manish Tiwari

Funds diverted because of lack of Govt funds: Tejveer

Punjab Information and Public Relations Director Tejveer Singh, who worked as DC of Patiala from March 4, 2002 to April 10, 2006, said he strongly believed that the funds collected in the name of relief or a project must be spent for the specific purpose. But there is no other way a DC can meet the government expenses other than using the Red Cross funds on certain occasions.

“As regards horticulture expenses, I had proposed to create a society for maintaining lawns and toilets of the Mini Secretariat in Patiala. I took up the matter with PUDA and the government for funds, but nothing happened. Finally, I was advised by my seniors to use the Red Cross funds for the purpose.”

“The Red Cross funds are being used by DCs mainly because of the lack of funds provided by the government to the districts. On a day-to-day basis, the DCs face this problem and the only way out is to use society's fund. Unless the government is ready to chip in, the situation won't change much," he said.

Fuelling cars

While the state government has fixed a maximum limit on expenditure on official cars and telephones of DCs, they seem to have been charging the expenditure in excess of the prescribed government limits to the Red Cross branches. In some cases, the DCs have themselves passed orders for making the payments.

For example, the Patiala Red Cross charged car fuel expenses of Rs 27,252 on May 9, 2006 in respect of the DC office car numbers PB-11N-0002 and PB-11N-0008 for February 2006 alone, being in excess of the limit prescribed by Punjab government. Similarly, Rs 21,630 was paid by Red Cross on May 31, 2006 in respect of DC office Car number PB-11N-0002 being in excess of the prescribed limit.

We’ll take action if misuse proved: Chief Secy

Punjab Chief Secretary Ramesh Inder Singh told HT that the Chief Minister, Parkash Singh Badal, on Friday issued orders to all DCs not to collect funds for Red Cross purposes. They cannot use Red Cross funds for personal expenses. “If we come across any misuse of Red Cross funds, we will certainly take action against the officers.”