District Collector Anshul Mishra has on Thursday directed freezing of the bank account of the Dhan Foundation – an NGO - here following alleged irregularities and malpractice in disbursals with regard to transactions it had in connection with a Central government scheme.
Under the 10 Five Year Plan, the Central government had proposed to establish water sources for irrigation and among others in villages identified for agricultural development.
Various programmes with huge financial outlay were devised with the aim of improving the farm activities and thereby prevent migration of farm labourers from rural pockets to urban localities.
Under the National Watershed Development Programme for Rain fed Areas, the funds were issued by the Centre.
The Dhan Foundation was entrusted with as many as 10 villages, including Seelanayakanpatti, Vandari Athipatti, Paraipatti, Pulipatti, Kurayur, Seelarpatti, Pannikundu, Sengapadai and Sokkampatti. The NGO was to have opened individual bank accounts in the name of farmers and the remittances should not be withdrawn under any circumstances.
However, a check of the statement of accounts suggested that the NGO had not followed the terms laid out by the officials.
On the contrary, the Dhan Foundation had been instructed to remit Rs 4.68 lakh by July 5 and failure may attract further action as per law, the Collector noted in a press release.
Further, the Dhan Foundation, which was to have disbursed funds to self-help groups under the revolving fund, had allegedly neglected the procedure.
Instead of disbursing it to listed SHGs and collect them periodically over a period of 12 months, it had issued several lakhs only to one group, thereby violating the norms.
A notice had been issued to the Dhan Foundation seeking explanation on its irregularities and violations. Until further orders, the banks had been instructed to freeze the account dealing with the above scheme.
Responding to the charges made in the Collector’s notice, the Dhan Foundation said in a statement that the National Watershed Development Project had been completed in 2009.
The funds under the project were deposited in bank accounts started in the name of people’s committees and the NGO did not have any access to them.
The funds were transferred from savings bank accounts and converted as fixed deposits only to earn a higher rate of interest.
The transfer decision was also taken by the people. The Dhan Foundation did not have access to funds allocated for self-help groups, who were maintaining the accounts.
These accounts were audited annually, the statement claimed. Work undertaken under the National Watershed Development Project had been inspected by the Tamil Nadu Watershed Development Agency and Madurai District Watershed Development Agency.
All accounts and reports had been submitted to the district agency and at no point did Dhan Foundation operated any of the accounts directly, the statement added.