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Pillar-to-post Saradha cash

Calcutta, Dec. 10: The panel set up by the government in the aftermath of the Saradha default has recommended direct transfer of cash to the bank accounts of duped depositors as several thousand cheques have not reached the beneficiaries.

The Shyamal Sen Commission, which has been tasked with identifying the victims and facilitating disbursal of the compensation, has proposed to the Mamata Banerjee government that it adopt the electronic clearing system (ECS).

Under the ECS, money will be transferred to the accounts of the duped depositors from the government’s account.

A commission official said the government would open bank accounts for those who didn’t have them.

Senior state government officials said more than 6,000 cheques, which had been sent to the authorities in the districts, could not be delivered to the default victims as they could not be traced.

Sources in the commission told The Telegraph they had identified three reasons behind the failure to deliver many cheques.

“We feel that either the address of the recipients were typed wrong or the cheques were sent to a different district. It is also possible that some of the beneficiaries have changed their addresses. We have requested the government to tell us why the cheques were sent back,” the commission official said.

The Shyamal Sen Commission recommends the names of the people identified for compensation, following which the finance department issues the cheques and the home department sends them to the districts.

“The onus of the failure to deliver cheques is on the two departments,” the commission official said.

Another panel official said the ECS would ensure that all those identified for compensation received the amount without any hitch or delay.

Senior state government officials welcomed the suggestion, saying it could be the “proper and scientific way” of paying the compensation to the victims. They said it could not be implemented in the beginning as the chief minister wanted to kick off the compensation drive by distributing the first lot of cheques.

The officials said Aadhaar cards would not be made mandatory for the transfer of the money. The state government has been protesting against the Centre’s decision to make possession of the card compulsory for getting subsidy on domestic LPG cylinders.

So far, the commission has recommended for compensation the names of 2.82 lakh Saradha default victims.

“Soon, the names of another 2 lakh victims will be recommended to the state. We will urge the government to adopt the ECS for this lot,” the commission official said.