Along with other NGOs and companions, former Union Expenditure Secreary, EAS Sarma, who is involved in activism for better governance, is looking for assistance to reach solar lamps to cyclone affected slum-dwellers in costal Andhra Pradesh. His appeal hopes to garner support to help many more in need
Mr EAS Sarma, former secretary to the government of India, has issued an appeal to help victims of the cyclone Hudhud. The well-known and widely respected former bureaucrat, who has been working as an activist for various causes in his retirement days said, “After the cyclone that hit Vizag on October 12, I have gone round the slums in different parts of the city, which have been badly affected. The slum dwellers have lost whatever little they had. Most of them have no electricity and were exposed to snake bites.”
Mr Sarma went around Vishakapatnam to assess the damage in the aftermath of the cyclone and in collaboration with local NGOs and Dr B Ranganayakulu of Thrive Solar Energy Co., had distributed solar lamps to the affected slum-dwellers. So far they had distributed 600 lamps, he said.
“When I visited some slums for the second time after they received these lamps, I saw happiness on their faces. I attach pictures of a ragpickers colony celebrating Diwali with solar lamps. We distributed 66 lamps there on the Diwali day and the residents, who encountered more than 25 poisonous snakes in their colony after the cyclone, proudly celebrated the festival with the solar lamps,” he said.
Mr Sarma has appealed to citizens across India to donate and help in the distribution of more solar lamps to those in need. “The retail price of a lamp is Rs300, for individuals wishing to donate, the price could be lower at Rs150,” he said. Talking about the wide need of these lamps, “There are hundreds of slums in Visakhapatnam and the residents there lead sub-human lives,” he said.
“If you wish to be present and take part in the distribution exercise, you are most welcome,” he added, encouraging volunteers in coming to help in the distribution of the aid. He explained that their work in Vishakapatnam was not restricted to merely distributing lamps. He said they were trying their best to sit with the slum-dwellers and understand their problems, so that they could alert the authorities and get these problems resolved.
If you wish to donate to the cause, the details are as below:
Bank account name : Thrive Solar Energy Pvt Ltd
Bank name: State Bank of Hyderabad
Branch name: MSME Moulali Branch, Hyderabad
Branch code: 20096
Account on: 62267746317
IFSC code: SBHY0020096
“Kindly circulate this appeal widely among your friends. A solar lamp can trigger a positive change in the lives of the slum residents,” Mr Sarma said in his appeal.
EPFO is all set to launch an online facility for transfer of provident fund (PF) accounts for organised sector workers covered under private PF trusts. “The EPFO has planned to launch the facility of online transfer of PF account from private PF trusts to un-exempted firms which are filing PF returns and vice-versa, this month,” a labour ministry official said.
At present, this facility is available to workers of firms which do not have their PF trusts.
Some trustees of Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) are pitching for investing a part its huge corpus of around Rs6 lakh crore in equity of profit-making public sector blue-chip companies.
Ashok Singh, president of Uttar Pradesh INTUC, suggested this during a recent informal meeting of the non-official members of EPFO’s central board of trustees (CBT) with labour minister Narendra Singh Tomar. “I have suggested that a small portion of EPFO funds should be invested in profit-making navratna public sector firms to improve returns,” said Mr Singh who is also an EPFO trustee. He said, “I have also suggested that EPFO should go ahead with investment in public sector equity only with expert advice and must have a monitoring system for the purpose.”