The cheque issued to the widow of a debt-ridden farmer in Maharashtra’s Vidarbha region did not bounce due to delay in release of assistance by the Prime Minister’s Office but “local issues”, a PMO statement said on Saturday.
The Yavatmal district officials had erroneously issued the cheque from the Prime Minister's National Relief Fund account of the district rather than the CM’s Relief Fund.
The officer and clerks concerned who issued the wrong cheque have been slapped with a show cause notice.
“Necessary administrative action is being taken against them,” the PMO statement said, pointing that the widow would receive the financial assistance of Rs 10,000 in cash.
The district collector’s office had issued a cheque in February this year to Vandana Anil Shende whose husband had committed suicide in August 2006.
Last month, the bank returned the cheque unpaid citing insufficient funds in the account, prompting local activists to blame the Centre for delay in releasing funds.
But it made clear that the PMO was not to be blamed.
“The cheque under reference was issued by the local District authorities in Maharashtra, and not honoured because of local issues, and not on account of any delay in release of funds from PMNRF,” the PMO statement said, pointing that the Singh’s commitment in this regard had already been fulfilled.
In addition to other initiatives, Manmohan Singh announced financial assistance from PMNRF during his July 2006 visit to Vidarbha to alleviate the suffering of debt-stressed families of Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Kerala by placing Rs 50 lakh at the disposal of 31 districts, 6 of them in Vidarbha.
“It was a one-time grant of funds of Rs 50 lakh at the disposal of the District Collector concerned,” the PMO said.
The state was to utilize the fund for assistance to needy farmers and their families for their health and education, especially the children. Accordingly, Rs 3 crore was handed over to authorities for six districts of Vidarbha the same day.
A sum of Rs 12.5 crore was also released for 25 districts of the other three states without any delay. “The Prime Minister's announcement of this initiative, from Prime Minister's National Relief Fund, has been completed,” the clarification said.