Several Pune women return monetary relief meant for CSWs

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Pune, Apr 30 (PTI) Several women in Pune in Maharashtra who got Rs 15,000 meant as relief for commercial sex workers amid the coronavirus outbreak approached district authorities to return the amount, officials said on Friday.

The Supreme Court, in September last year, directed states to provide dry rations to sex workers identified by the National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO) and Legal Services authorities without insisting on any proof of identity.

Accordingly, the Pune district administration had recently offered assistance of Rs 15,000 each for the months of October, November and December to over 5,000 CSWs through direct transfer of benefits.

Members of a social organisation said the irregularity took place as some unscrupulous people approached women living in Hadapsar area, several of them illiterate, and got forms filled to claim relief.

'The unsuspecting women then filled up the forms and gave their documents. Around 20 received the amount in their accounts recently. After this, the people who had got them to fill up the forms approached them demanding 50 per cent cut from the relief amount,' said Nitin Pawar, Hamal Panchayat convener and social worker.

After these women found that the money credited into their accounts was relief meant for commercial sex workers, they, along with functionaries of social welfare outfits, approached the district administration, Pawar said.

Tejaswi Sevekari, executive director, Saheli Sangh, a collective of sex workers in Pune, said the Akhil Bhartiya Bahujan Sena, National Network of Sex Workers and Saheli Sangh had given memorandums to authorities seeking a probe.

When contacted, District Collector Rajesh Deshmukh said a report has been sought in the matter. PTI SPK BNM BNM