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Collector orders inquiry into misappropriation of funds allocated to sex workers

A day after Hindustan Times reported misappropriation of funds, Pune district collector Rajesh Deshmukh has now ordered an inquiry while constituting a committee to probe the matter
By Prachi Bari, Pune
UPDATED ON APR 30, 2021 09:20 PM IST

A day after Hindustan Times reported misappropriation of funds, Pune district collector Rajesh Deshmukh has now ordered an inquiry while constituting a committee to probe the matter.

The collector accepted that money meant for commercial sex workers during the pandemic was credited into other accounts. The collector

In its report, HT highlighted that part of an amount of 7.94 crore, released by the Maharashtra government as financial aid to be paid to commercial sex workers (CSW) in Pune in view of Covid-19 pandemic, was deposited into the bank accounts of maids and waste pickers living in Annabhau Sathe Nagar, Tarawade vasti, Mohammadwadi.

“Yes, we received the complaints, I have ordered enquiry. I am busy right throughout for oxygen supply meeting. I have asked the RDC (Resident District Collector),” said Deshmukh through text messages while expressing to share more details given his presence in series of meeting in meetings related to Covid situation.

On April 29, Nitin Pawar, president, Hamal Panchayat Samiti and Nitin Waghmare, founder Akhil Bharatiya Bahujan Sena, along with the NGO Saheli and the National Network of Sex Workers presented a statement to the district collector informing him of the misuse of the funds. //

While the district collector is still in the process of finalizing the details of the enquiry, the women who had received 15,000 for three months are facing a dilemma.

The state released 7.94 crore and transferred it to 5,296 bank accounts belonging to commercial sex workers in Pune based on a Supreme Court order, dated September 21, 2020, that victims of the flesh trade be compensated by the administration with assistance like provision of food grains and cash. The court ruled that no documentary proof must be taken from victims while delivering the welfare measures and sops.

The women from Tarawade vasti signed a consent form by members of an “unknown NGO” gave copies of their Aadhar cards and bank passbooks and paid an additional 200 for the service.

“We want to return the money, but there is a small problem. We do not have the entire amount with us as the people who filled the forms asked us to pay them 7,000 in cash, which some of us have paid already,” said Manjusha Edke, one of the beneficiaries who wants to return the money.

HT tried to trace the number shared by the women, but it was switched off.

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