However, donation receipts bear the name and mobile number of Pernambut Tahsildar C Murugan and COVID-19 volunteers’ president Leelavathi.
Initially, Rs 50 was collected from hawkers and street vendors, higher amounts up to Rs 500 were collected from shops to assist the volunteers.
After the split, when asked about the money so collected, Tahsildar Murugan said, “the collected money totalling Rs 12,000 is safe with me and it will be used for COVID related work.”
On issue of official permission to collect money, the Tahsildar said, “Volunteers were working for nearly five months and as the government promised Rs 300 per day was yet to come, it was suggested that money be collected to meet the day to day expenses at least.”
Earlier, donations were collected without receipts, but at traders’ request, receipts were issued.
Now with the volunteers numbering more than 100 split up on communal lines, volunteers’ president Leelavathi said, “The breakup has resulted in only 21 remaining now. We stopped collections after a two-day drive.”
However, traders complained that they were threatened to pay up to be allowed to run shops in the market area. “We were unwilling to donate, but gave fearing action from the Tahsildar,” said a trader requesting anonymity.
To it, Murugan said, “My name was added to the receipt as many traders felt it would provide legitimacy to their payment.” But, many were irked that no action was taken by Collector A Shanmuga Sundaram despite being informed of this malaise.
Volunteers said that donations still continued albeit without any receipts.