A public welfare trust has urged Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh to immediately intervene in order to stop "collection of huge funds" by NGOs through school students in the name of cancer patients here. In a letter to the chief minister, Ajai Srivastava, chairman of the Umang Foundation, alleged that this fraud was being done in connivance with the administration of schools here. Claiming that a number of government and private schools were using innocent children for ulterior motives, Srivastava demanded that a high-level inquiry be conducted against the erring schools and an FIR be lodged against the NGOs since they have collected crores of rupees by using children. Srivastava said that atleast four NGOs registered in other states were operating in Himachal Pradesh in the name of cancer patients. He claimed that three class XI students of local government senior secondary school, came to his house asking for donations for cancer patients on behalf of one NGO 'Cancer Aid Society, Lucknow'. When questioned why they were collecting the funds, they said that their English teacher had assigned them the task to collect funds for the NGO. They also said the NGO has promised them to give prizes if they collect a handsome amount.
They said that hundreds of students of that school have been engaged in collection of funds for the NGO by their teachers. When Ajai Srivastava contacted the NGO at their Lucknow number to seek financial assistance for a 3-year-old girl who was suffering from blood cancer and admitted at IGMC Shimla, the said "NGO's official refused to extend any help". The said NGO has two offices in Lucknow, one at Delhi, apart from offices in other big cities like Bangalore, Ahmadabad, Chennai, Mumbai, Kolkata and Hyderabad etc. An official of the NGO apparently said that they collect funds for creating awareness about cancer in the society and usually do not give assistance to individual patients. Srivastava said that inquiries made by Umang Foundation brought to the fore that at least four NGOs are "aggressively collecting money through school students in different districts of the state and no receipts were provided to donors". When Umang Foundation asked the Director of high education in this regard, he "expressed ignorance and said that no such permission had been given to anybody".