Srinagar- The Jammu and Kashmir government has collected over Rs 1 crore as fine from people in Srinagar for violating Covid norms; however, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) Kashmir chapter was deprived of nearly 60 percent of the collected fines, an RTI application has revealed.
Prominent activist Dr. Raja Muzaffar Bhat had filed an RTI with the Jammu and Kashmir Government in March this year to learn about the disbursement of funds collected in Kashmir as a fine for Covid violations.
The RTI reply, a copy of which lies with Kashmir Observer, offers perspective on the frenzy following J&K administration’s drive to fine people for violating Covid norms on red Cross’ receipts and also for allegedly resorting to coercion and threats to collect donations for the Indian Red Cross Society (IRCS) during two pandemic years.
The data obtained by Dr. Muzaffar Bhat reveals that while J&K deposited Rs 1,05,38,620 as penalty money in government treasury, only Rs 43,88,060 of the penalty amount was deposited to Red Cross despite the fact that most of the fine receipts belonged to ICRS.
Total amount of penalty money recovered from 27th March 2020 to 1st March 2022 and deposited in Govt. Treasury under proper receipts in rupees is Rs. 1,05,38,620.” reads the reply by DDMO Srinagar.
However, out of the Rs 43,88,060 deposited to Red Cross, “Rs 36, 97,365 was the amount provided as relief out of red cross to poor people/victims of other disasters”.
Notably, the RTI activists had sought details under the RTI from all the DCs of the valley but only the details provided to him were forwarded by the Srinagar administration.
I had sought information under this RTI from all DCs but only, DC office Srinagar has provided this information. 60 percent of fines collected under the receipts of the Red Cross were never not deposited in the Red Cross account. Bhat told Kashmir Observer.
He had filed the application at the J&K Government on March 15, 2022 under DCS/DDMA/21/RTI/211-14. In response to his query, the office of the District disaster Management Authority, Srinagar on September 9 with information on all the points raised has said that there were 154 receipt books sent to SSp Srinagar that had collected Rs. 43,88,060 as the amount of fine.
There were 8 different categories of needy people, the reply noted, who were provided with the amount for financial assistance from the Red Cross amount. AS per the data provided, there were 15 CA cases who were provided Rs 1,04,500, 8 dialysis cases were given Rs 41,000, 5 heart cases were given Rs 23,500, 2 tumor cases were given Rs.7500.
It was in the several fire cases, death case/acid attack victims, destitute cases and widows who were given a financial assistance of more than 35 Lakhs. “114 fire cases were given Rs 7,16,000, 5 death/acid attack were given a financial assistance of Rs 3,69,820, 120 destitute cases were given Rs 7,91,825 and 2070 widows (01/04/2021 to 28/03/2022) were given Rs 16,43,220 as financial assistance from the penalty funds that were deposited in the Red Cross.” reads the data attached in the reply.
Kashmir Observer tried to reach Syed Kifayat Rizvi, Honorary General Secretary, IRCS, Kashmir Chapter, however there was no response from his end despite repeated calls.