With only days left to go before the rain gods deliver the bounty to water-starved regions in the state, members of one of the biggest railway unions are collecting funds to provide relief to those areas facing acute water scarcity and drought.
For the last couple of days several representatives of the National Railway Mazdoor Union (NRMU) have been collecting money from commuters at various railway stations in the city. Wearing red-coloured NRMU caps, railway employees affiliated to the union have been seen requesting people to donate Rs 20 towards the cause at different stations like Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, Dadar, Kurla, Parel, Thane, Kalyan and Panvel.
“We have already collected around Rs 2 lakh in the last two days with our efforts,” said V Nair, president, NRMU. To ensure transparency, the union said it has been providing donors with receipts titled ‘Maharashtra Drought Relief Fund’ wherein the NRMU’s general secretary’s signature has already been marked. NRMU will carry out their drive till June 10 after which they expect the rains to hit the drought-affected areas.
Questioned about the timing of the campaign, NRMU members claimed that they were busy with union elections in May — when the situation in drought-affected areas in Maharashtra was severe and hence, couldn’t collect funds during the period.
Sources in NRMU, however, say that the union would be utilising the received funds collected from commuters to spend on internal and welfare activities of the union. They stated that the union had earlier contributed Rs 20 lakh from their kitty to an NGO called the Water Conservation Committee. The NGO is based in Daregaon taluka of Jalna district, which is apparently one of the worst affected areas. It would use the funds from NRMU for water conservation, said the source.