A shocking case of crores of rupees collected from public transport commuters as “Child Nutrition Surcharge” and not being used for the purpose has come to light in Maharashtra, prompting Opposition to seek an inquiry into the matter.
“We will raise the issue in the budget session of the state legislature, which commences on March 11, and seek an inquiry,” Leader of Opposition in State Legislative Council Vinod Tawde said.
Asked to quantify the total amount collected as “Child Nutrition Surcharge” so far, an MSRTC spokesperson said he did not have the details.
Minister for Children and Women’s Development, Varsha Gaikwad said she would look into the issue.
“Money collected for child nutrition should be utilised only for that purpose,” she said.
There are reports that the Pune Mahanagar Parivahan Mahamandal Ltd (PMPML) is holding back Rs 41.12 crore — levied as Child Nutrition Surcharge at 10-15 paise per ticket, for nearly 15 years. This amount should have been deposited with the state’s treasury to help battle malnutrition.
The then Sena-BJP government had decided to levy the “Child Nutrition Surcharge” in 1997 to collect a small percentage of each bus ticket fare in major cities in Maharashtra and the revenue used to tackle malnutrition deaths in the state.