Govt reverts decision, allows use of CDF by MLAs

DDCs asked to submit report every month

Sanjeev Pargal
JAMMU, Aug 17: In a major decision aimed at restoration of political activities in Jammu and Kashmir, which was under Governor’s Rule for past about two months, the State Government has reverted its previous decision of imposing ban on use of Constituency Development Fund (CDF) by the MLAs, and allowed its use for further developmental works in the State.
The decision comes within few days after BJP MLAs, mostly Ministers in previous Mehbooba Mufti-led PDP-BJP coalition Government, complained to party national general secretary, Ram Madhav, who is party’s pointman on Jammu and Kashmir, that political activities have come to standstill due to Governor NN Vohra’s decision to ban their CDF for fresh works and inauguration of newly constructed projects within their constituencies.
Official sources told the Excelsior that the Planning, Development & Monitoring Department (PD&MD), which monitors CDF of the legislators, today issued the order lifting ban on use of CDF by the MLAs for new developmental works.
“Fresh works which will be recommended by the legislators under CDF till September 30 this year, will also be considered for grant of approval by the District Development Commissioners subject to the fulfillment of CDF guidelines and availability of net balance funds in the account of legislators,’’ the Planning Department order said.
A legislator gets Rs 3 crore worth CDF every year.
The PD&MD order further said that execution of all ongoing works under the Constituency Development Fund will continue and completed as per the existing timelines. It added that works for which either administrative approval has been accorded or details estimates have been prepared but not physically commended will be executed expeditiously after accord of administrative approval and completion of all prescribed codal formalities subject to the availability of net balance funds in the account of legislators.
The PD&MD has also issued some fresh guidelines to the District Development Commissioners on completion and supervision of works under the Constituency Development Fund Scheme.
“The District Development Commissioners will closely monitor physical and financial progress of works taken up under CDF in their respective districts and ensure that the works are approved and executed strictly as per norms and guidelines of the CDF scheme,’’ the PD&MD order, issued by Principal Secretary to Government, PD&MD, Rohit Kansal, said.
It added that the District Development Commissioners will supervise and monitor pace and quality of execution of work at regular intervals to ensure their completion without any cost or time over run for large public good.
For the purpose, the Government order said, the District Development Commissioners, will intensify their field visit and public outreach programmes and send monthly progress to PD&MD indicating physical and financial progress and submit first such report for the period ending August 31, 2018 by or before September 7.
According to the official order, the PD&MD will be free to get any random or other check or verifications conducted to ensure/ascertain that the works authorized are in general public interest and in conformity with the CDF scheme guidelines.
Sources said after allowing MLAs to use CDF even when the Legislative Assembly was under suspended animation following imposition of Governor’s rule in the State, the Government was considering withdrawal of the direction preventing MLAs from inauguration of developmental works, which had been issued last month, following resentment voiced (over the direction) by some of the MLAs, who had openly defied the direction and inaugurated the works.
“The Government could revoke the direction and allow the MLAs to inaugurate developmental works,’’ sources said but added that no formal direction of revoking the previous decision has been issued so far.
It may be mentioned here that the MLAs especially those belonging to the BJP, had voiced resentment over both the directions of the State Government including ban on use of CDF and inauguration of developmental works. They were of the view that the Legislative Assembly was only under suspended animation and hasn’t been dissolved and, therefore, the MLAs have full powers except for making legislations. Legislative Assembly Speaker Dr Nirmal Singh had also spoken to Governor NN Vohra on the issue and supported the MLAs.