Saturday, January 30, 2010

YSR's death kills govt minority welfare too

HYDERABAD: With YSR gone, the state government appears to have lost its minority welfare touch too. Once the USP of the late CM, today funding has dropped to an all-time low for important institutions and four of them have been functioning sans a head for a while. While AP Wakf Board, State Minorities Finance Corporation and Urdu Academy have been headless for over four-six months, it's been over a year for State Haj Committee.

On Monday, several contract workers of the Urdu Academy demonstrated outside Haj House demanding salaries for the past four months. The Academy got its last funding in Sept. — that too for scholarships. Fund crunch has also ensured it could do little to strengthen infrastructure in Urdu schools or even in deeni madrasas where it annually distributes computers. Academy superintendent Mohammed Omer said: "Though the government has apparently allotted funds to the Minorities Welfare Department, it hasn't reached us yet."

The story repeated itself at the minorities finance corporation. "Barring funds for scholarships and fee reimbursements, we have not received any funds for other projects such as self-employment schemes for which we used to get Rs 4 crore annually," said a senior official. Sources, however, said even scholarships and reimbursements of fee have not reached students this academic year.

A cash-strapped Wakf board, meanwhile, has discontinued its widow pension this financial year. "We are not only short of funds, but there is also little attempt to recover funds from Wakf properties," said Raza Hussein of Wakf board.

According to ex-chairman of state Haj committee Hafiz Peer Shabbir Ahmed: "There is an urgent need to appoint chairpersons and committees in all the departments. Without them, there is nobody to put forth the problems to the minister, who is currently handling all charges and over-burdened."

Despite government assurance they are yet to see the money. "The minorities welfare minister Ahmedullah Syed in a statement had said that funds have been released and salaries (of Urdu Academy employees) will be paid soon. But it has been 20 days since then and we are struggling to meet our daily needs," said Mohammed Umar, general secretary, Urdu Academy Computer Centres and Libraries Employees Welfare Association.