The controversy over the alleged diversion of funds collected by Coal India for disaster relief took a new turn on Tuesday with a central trade union saying that the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) failed to properly investigate the issue and leveled wrong allegations.
The CPM-affiliated Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) said that trade unions active in the coal industry would never allow public funds collected for disaster relief to be diverted for other purposes. Besides CITU, thousands of workers of Coal India are registered with the Congress-affiliated INTUC and another central trade union HMS.
CITU president and CPM politburo member MK Pandhe shot off a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh saying that money from the Prime Minister's Relief Fund never reaches the victims. He wrote that on several occasions, like in the case of the Orissa relief fund, it was found that the "PM's Relief Fund does not reach the affected victim."
After the October 2005 earthquake in Jammu & Kashmir, the trade unions floated the idea to the Coal India management that the relief money should be directly sent to the victims. "We decided to adopt three villages in the worst affected area and re-build them with more than Rs 7 crore collected from nearly 5 lakh workers. In principle, the J&K government also agreed," Pandhe told the