Cherthala: In an embarrassment to the ruling CPM, a local party leader allegedly collected money from the inmates of a relief camp here, to pay for a vehicle which transported materials to it, following which he was suspended.
The entire episode was recorded on camera. CPM district secretary R Naser said Omanakuttan, party local committee member of Kurupankulanga, has been suspended pending enquiry.
Omanakuttan was suspended for collecting money from people staying in the relief camp at Cherthala south village panchayat community hall. As a convenor, Omanakuttan collecting money on his own instead of alerting revenue and other officials regarding the lack of facilities was a mistake, the CPM observed.
The Left government’s stance is not to collect money from relief camps. In this situation, a party leader himself acting against it could not be accepted. Hence he has been suspended, the CPM said.
State Minister for Public Works G Sudhakaran, who visited the camp later told reporters that no one had asked Omanakuttan to collect money and it happened due to negligence of the officials.
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 in the camps.
"I came here day before yesterday and no one complained," the Tahsildar said. A complaint has been registered by the police and the money collected by the Left leader was returned to the inmates, officials said. Sudhakaran warned of action if someone indulged in such acts.
Meanwhile, as the government announced financial aid for flood victims, people started flocking to relief camps in Alappuzha district.
Relief camps in the district witnessed 17,000 people coming to relief camps in 24 since 8 am on Wednesday. To accommodate the increased number of people, 17 new relief camps were opened across the district.
The registrations in relief camps since 8 am on Wednesday will be kept separately. Details of the people included in this list will be checked before financial assistance is distributed.
(With inputs from PTI)