JAMMU, Jan 23: Even as the thousands of workers are taking to streets for their wages, which have not been released for the months together, Members of Legislative Assembly demanded allotment of plots to the Legislators, three fold increase in their travel expenses, Constituency Development Fund (CDF), enhancement of honorarium of their PAs, establishment of the office for MLAs in Assembly Secretariat as well as in their respective constituencies and the other facilities, etc.
The discussion over these demands was sought in the Cut Motions, moved by different MLAs for reply by the Parliamentary Affairs Department, grants of which were presented in the Legislative Assembly, here today.
Interestingly, the Govern-ment is also positive to almost all the demands of the legislators and examine possibility of increasing the CDF, allotment of plots and establishment of offices for them though an excuse of financial constraint was expressed for enhancement of the TA, which is already Rs one lakh per annum.
“In view of the persistent and repeated demands made by all Legislators, cutting across party lines, the Government is going to examine the possibility of making the CDF guidelines more flexible and increasing the overall corpus for utilization in the constituencies,” the Parliamentary Affairs Department replied in written response to the Cut Motions, moved by MLA Mubarak Gul, Mohd Amin Bhat and Pawan Gupta for seeking enhancement of CDF.
Pertinent to mention that a number of other MLAs from opposition as well as ruling parties, have repeatedly demanded enhancement of CDF from Rs 1.5 crores to Rs 5 crores.
The Constituency Develo-pment Scheme (CDS) is operation in the State since 1997-98 on the pattern of MPLADS. Initially an amount of Rs 25 lakh per MLA/MLC per annum was allotted, which was enhanced to Rs 35 lakh during 2004-05, Rs 50 lakh during 2009-10 ad Rs 100 lakh during 2011-12. From the financial year 2012-13, the entitlement under CDF has been enhanced to Rs 150 lakh per Legislator per annum.
Mohd Amin Bhat, in his another cut motion, sought allotment of plots to the Legislators of J&K in Srinagar as well as in Jammu, while the Government, in its response, replied that the demand will be considered in consultation with all the stakeholders.
Similarly, regarding the demand of Abdul Majid Larmi for establishment of the office for MLA at the Assembly Secretariat and in their respective constituencies, the Government has also assured to examine the same in consultation with Planning and Estate Department.
However, the Government has expressed its inability to consider the demand for enhancement of travel expenses of the Legislators up to Rs three lakh per annum because of poor financial position of the State.
Presently, every Legislator is entitled to a reimbursement up to Rs one lakh in a financial year on account of travel. The TA was enhanced from Rs 50 thousand to Rs one lakh in October 2012.
The Government vide J&K Members, Ministers and Ministers of State Salaries and Allowances (Amendment) act 2016, had enhanced the salary of Legislators from Rs 35000 to Rs 60,000, Constituency/ conveyance allowance from Rs 30, 000 to Rs 60,000 and Telephone Allowance from Rs 14, 000 to Rs 30,000 and Medical Allowance Rs 1000 to Rs 10,000.
Besides, the Legislators are also entitled to normal TA/DA for attending official function, official tours outside the State and also during the Assembly session as per TA Rules.
On the other hand, thousands of Daily Wagers are taking to streets for their wages, which have not been released for the months together while hundreds of teachers and Rehbar-e-Talim under SSA and other schemes are also without salary for the last few months.