NGO in dock over missing rehab funds

an ngo working with people affected by an urban transport project has been accused of irregularities. Mumbai's mayor, Shubha Raul has ordered an enquiry against Society for Promotion of Area Resource Centres (sparc) after charges of misappropriating funds were levied against the ngo.

sparc has been involved in the relocation and rehabilitation of people affected by the World Bank-funded Rs 4,526-crore Mumbai Urban Transport Project (mutp) since 1998. The residents of the resettlement colonies, who lived in slums earlier, were removed as part of railway projects on the Harbour line.

sparc has been charged with "not paying' the money it collected as electricity and water charges from people in resettlement colonies. The organization denies the charges. "We issued receipts and our records are open to scrutiny,' says sparc's founding member, Jockin Arputham. "We collected payments till 2004 and paid to the agencies concerned. Individual meters were fixed thereafter and residents now pay to the utility provider,' says sparc's coordinator, M G Shekhar. Such accusations were made against sparc before, says Arputham. A World Bank enquiry in 2004 had given it a clean-chit. Government sources say the enquiry was a gimmick.