Did the Tamil Nadu government spend Rs 3.25 crore just to buy sweaters for Ukrainian students?
The Tamil Nadu government has set aside Rs 3.50 crore to rescue Ukrainian students, of which Rs 3.25 crore has been spent on buying sweaters alone!
The Tamil Nadu government has announced an allocation of Rs 3.5 crore for the rescue of students from Ukraine due to the war. A meme post showing the RTI information page claiming that the government has spent Rs 3.25 crore of the allocated amount just to buy sweaters for students has been shared on social media. Tamil Nadu BJP treasurer SR Sekhar shared this on Twitter.
What is the truth?
The complete document of the reply given on May 23 to the petition filed under the Right to Information Act regarding the amount spent by the Government of Tamil Nadu to rescue students from Ukraine was received.
In response of the Tamil Nadu government to the RTI, “the government of Tamil Nadu has allocated Rs 3.5 crore to rescue students from Ukraine. Of this, Rs. 3,25,29,234 has been spent by the Government of Tamil Nadu.
From 27th February to 12th March 2022, the cost of air and train tickets booked at Tamil Nadu House, Delhi for students coming from Ukraine, Arrangements for transportation in Delhi, Expenses for food and beverages in Delhi, food and transportation expenses in Ukraine and Romania, Air tickets from Mumbai, vehicles for local travel in Chennai, Madurai and Coimbatore, control room charges and miscellaneous comes up to a total of Rs. 3,25,29,234”.
The RTI response to the amount spent by the Tamil Nadu government to rescue students from Ukraine did not directly mention the purchase of the sweater anywhere.
Yuvraj Ramalingam, who filed the RTI, posted on Twitter, “why should the Serendip sourcing private limited, a company that makes sweaters for the European countries is among the companies that are involved in the money transfer from the government, is the question asked in RTI seeking for an answer from the TN government”.
It was asked how much money was spent on which things for students from Ukraine, RTI did not say how much money was given to which companies, but the total amount was stated.
The director of Serendip sourcing private limited is a relative of former DMK minister Pongalur Palanichamy. Therefore, it is questionable whether funding was provided to the DMK-owned company.
RTI response has revealed that Rs 3.50 crore was set aside by the Tamil Nadu government for rescuing Ukrainian students, but did not mention that Rs 3.25 crore was spent on buying sweaters.