Revenue dept says sorry to CPM worker wrongly accused of fund collection in relief camp

Revenue dept says sorry to CPM worker wrongly accused of fund collection in relief camp
(Right) CPM local leader Omanakuttan and Dr V Venu, principal secretary, Revenue and Disaster Management.
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Cherthala: The CPM will withdraw the suspension slapped on its Kurupankulanga local committee member, who was wrongly accused of collecting money from the flood victims.

An enquiry constituted by the party has found that Omanakuttan was not collecting money. On the contrary, he was helping people housed in the camp.

Omanakuttan, who had to face the wrath of his party and the government for allegedly collecting funds "illegally" from the members of a relief camp here, has also received an apology from the State revenue department.

Many people who took shelter in the camp also submitted a plea to Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan vouching for Omanakuttan's innocence and rubbishing charges against him.

On Friday, Omanakuttan was suspended from the party for allegedly collecting money those housed in the relief camp to pay for a vehicle that transported materials to the camp.

The Arthungal police had also registered a case against Omanakuttan on a complaint filed by Cherthala Tahsildar.

Meanwhile, principal secretary Dr V Venu said the Revenue Department will withdraw the complaint against Omanakuttan and apologised to him.

"The district collector has been asked to withdraw the complaint," he said.

"Omanakuttan, who himself was staying in the camp, had brought rice and since he did not have money to pay the autorickshaw he had no other option but to collect it from some of those who were housed in the camp. Omanakuttan had selflessly taken part in offering assistance to relief camps earlier also," Venu wrote in a Facebook post.

"Though collecting funds was an illegal act, it was done with good intent and showcased values of human coexistence. The department has understood that he has committed an act that was the only way out during such a situation”.

"As the head of the disaster relief drive, I apologise to him," he added.

According to reports that went viral on Friday, Omanakuttan allegedly collected Rs 70 each from the members of the camp. The money was collected for arranging facilities at the community hall where the flood-affected people, including Omanakuttan, were put up.

But when visuals of the fund raising emerged, Public Works Minister G Sudhakaran visited the camp. Immediately after this, Omanakuttan was suspended from the party by the CPM Alappuzha district secretary.

On Friday, the minister told reporters that no one had asked Omanakuttan to collect money and it happened due to negligence of the officials.

On his part, Omanakuttan clarified that he collected the money to get an electricity connection to the relief camp from a nearby house and transport supplies to the camp from SupplyCo.

Those housed in the camp also complained that officials did not make arrangements for drinking water, food and electricity connection.

Following the complaint, the camp was provided electricity connection on Saturday.

Meanwhile, Cherthala Tahsildar denied allegations that the district authorities were not providing money for relief camps and said she regularly visited all the camps and ensured all facilities were available.

"I came here day before yesterday and no one complained," the Tahsildar said.

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