While hundreds opened their hearts to the victims in Malin, rushing to the village to help with rescue efforts over the past week, fewer seem willing to open their chequebooks to help fund the relief and rehabilitation work.
While the authorities had expected donors to come forward in huge numbers, all that the donation cell has received in the past week is a paltry Rs 1.36 lakh.
The landslide at Malin crushed 48 houses in the village, claiming 151 lives
Last week, Pune district collector Saurabh Rao had appealed to citizens wishing to contribute to the CM relief fund for the landslide victims, to hand over the cheques to a special cell at the Pune district collectorate.
The district collectorate’s records show that just four donations have been made towards relief work at Malin. File pic
Anticipating a strong response from Puneites, the district collectorate office has kept a 100-page notebook ready to record donor details. Till date however, only four donors have registered in the notebook, two of them politicians, and the other two social organisations.
A trust issue
Perhaps, the fact that not a single common citizen has visited the cell to make a donation is an indication of how little people trust government systems to follow through with proper and transparent allocation and utilisation of their money.
“I really want to help Malin village in some way. But rather than drawing a cheque in favour of the CM relief fund, I prefer to adopt a family or a child there, ensuring my funding can directly reach them. Honestly speaking, I don’t have any faith in direct donations to the government; we are all so used to hearing about politicians who just look for ways to siphon more money,” said Darshan Shah, a city-based businessman.
Resident Deputy Collector (RDC) Suresh Jadhav begged to differ however. “Though it is true that the recently-launched CM relief fund cell has not received good response, it doesn’t mean that people have no faith in donations,” he said. “One of the reasons behind the poor response could be that most people would want to actually visit the site and offer their help. In the past eight days, many social organisations and people have actually visited the village,” he added.
Youth Congress leader Ajit Sancheti, who donated Rs 11,000, said, “I donated the amount in good faith. It is the government’s responsibility to ensure that the money reaches the village.” Of the Rs 1,36,000 that the cell has collected so far, Rs 1 lakh was donated by Republican Party of India leader Ramdas Athavale. The remaining Rs 36,000 was contributed by Sancheti, and the NGO Kagad Kach Patra Kashtakari Panchayat (Rs 20,000) and Sadguru Swami Atmanand Benevolence Fund Trust (Rs 5,000).
Rs 1 lakh: The amount donated by Republican Party of India leader Ramdas Athavale
Rs 11000: The amount donated by Youth Congress leader Ajit Sancheti
Rs 25000: Donated by Kagad Kach Patra Kashtakari Panchayat (Rs 20k) and Sadguru Swami Atmanand Benevolence
Fund Trust (Rs 5k)
Donated by Kagad Kach Patra Kashtakari Panchayat (Rs 20k) and Sadguru Swami Atmanand Benevolence Fund Trust (Rs 5k)