Govt allows ex-MLAs to use CDF; asks DDCs to take up works

list given before Assembly was dissolved
DCs in fix due to back-dated recommendations

Sanjeev Pargal

JAMMU, Jan 4: In a significant decision, the State Government has allowed MLAs of the dissolved Assembly to utilize their Constituency Development Fund (CDF) for the works recommended by them before dissolution of the House on November 21 even though they were pending for want of administrative approval and sanction.
The Government decision came after number of former MLAs of various political parties approached Governor Satya Pal Malik seeking his intervention to allow the works recommended by them before dissolution of the Legislative Assembly on the ground that the House was dissolved abruptly and some of works recommended by them, remained pending due to delay in administrative approval and sanction especially in the wake of imposition of Model Code of Conduct due to Urban Local Bodies and Panchayat elections.
Official sources confirmed to the Excelsior that the Government has given go ahead to the District Development Commissioners for the works recommended by the former MLAs before November 21, the day the Legislative Assembly was dissolved abruptly by the Governor.
“All those fresh works, which have been identified by the former MLAs prior to the dissolution of the Legislative Assembly on 21-11-2018 but were pending for want of administrative approval and sanction due to Model Code of Conduct, will be taken up and completed after completion of all prescribed codal formalities,” an official order issued by the State Government, a copy of which is in possession of the Excelsior, said.
It added that works for which administrative approval and sanction had been accorded but which hadn’t physically commenced will also be taken up for execution.
However, the Government order said, the District Development Commissioners will devise a fool-proof mechanism to ensure that no back date authorizations are received. Besides, the DDCs shall within one week of authorizations to all pending works, furnish a work wise list to the Finance Department.
“Any violation noticed as a result of this exercise shall not only lead to cancellation of works but will also invite an appropriative administrative action,” the order read.
However, sources said, the Government order has opened Pandora’s box and number of former MLAs have submitted lists of works to the concerned District Development Commissioners after the issuance of the Government order in back dates.
“There were number of MLAs, whose CDF, which is to the tune of Rs 3 crore per year, was pending as initially former Governor NN Vohra had stopped use of CDF by the MLAs on the ground that the Legislative Assembly was under suspended animation. Later, Governor Satya Pal Malik had allowed the MLAs to use CDF. However, within a month of the order, Model Code of Conduct was imposed twice, first during Municipal elections and later for Panchayat polls,” sources said.
However, by the time, the Model Code of Conduct was lifted after completion of Panchayat elections on December 12, the Legislative Assembly had already been dissolved and the DDCs had refused to take up works recommended by the former MLAs on the ground that there had been no such order by the Government in this regard.
Some of the former MLAs from different political parties claimed that they met the Governor and briefed him that this year, works under the CDF remained pending as initially the former Governor had barred use of CDF after imposition of Governor’s rule in the State and later Model Code of Conduct was imposed for Municipal and Panchayat polls in which new works can’t be recommended.
“The Governor agreed with our suggestion and allowed use of CDF for only those developmental works, which had been recommended before dissolution of the Assembly i.e. November 21, 2018,” they said.
Some of the District Development Commissioners said the MLAs were issuing back dated letters recommending execution of works under the CDF and pressurizing them for approval.
Principal Secretary, Finance Department Navin Choudhary, when approached for comments, confirmed that the works recommended by the former MLAs under the CDF for which estimates had been prepared or were in the process of preparations before dissolution of the Legislative Assembly, can be initiated.
“Some of the works were pending due to imposition of Model Code of Conduct, first in view of Urban Local Bodies elections and again due to Panchayat polls, and they have been allowed to be taken up. However, no new works can be recommended by the former MLAs after dissolution of the Assembly,” Choudhary said.
He added that in the initial order issued on December 7, this aspect hadn’t been mentioned. Therefore, he said, the Finance Department has issued a clarification.