Incomplete 576 works under MPLAD Scheme

With a view to create durable community assets based on which type of needs were locally felt in areas like roads, drinking water, electricity, health, education and the like, Members of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme was devised by the Union Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation. The MPs have the recommendatory role, the District authorities that of implementation keeping in view the administrative, financial and technical rules of the respective State Government and in accordance with the guidelines on the captioned scheme. Having said so about the basics and the nitty – gritty of the scheme, it is hard to comprehend as to why majority of the Jammu and Kashmir State departments should not succeed in completing the work allocated within specified time -frame and why unwarranted delays should be caused, the quality of the works completed being one more separate issue.
As is well known, delays in completing of such works of community assets and utility involved the crucial cost factor as all the estimates and the total cost envisaged get topsy – turvy due to escalation plus depriving people of the benefits of the scheme. It is a matter of concern that in respect of the completed works, a total cost escalation of over Rs.12 crore has been noticed which by employing close monitoring measures could have been avoided. Members of Parliament, of course, do have the prime role of recommending development works but their duty also comprises in ensuring, by frequent visit to such areas where works are actually executed, to assess the levels of progress and recommend and suggest remedial measures.
Since works of different nature must necessarily conform to the guidelines of the Scheme, it is a thing to be believed that on that count, as many as 560 works could not be taken up for execution during the period of last four years. Under the MPLAD Scheme, each member of Parliament has the choice to suggest to the District Collector for execution of works to the tune of Rs.5 crore per annum to be taken up in the respective constituency. During 2015-16 and ending December 2018, under the MPLAD Scheme, a total of 6094 works were recommended by the Members of Parliament from Jammu and Kashmir State and as per the figures available the number of those sanctioned formally, executed and completed reveal an unsatisfactory position depicting non serious approach in monitoring. It is not difficult to underline the main bottlenecks and the areas of hurdles coming in the way to get these works done in time bound manner as availability of funds, the main ingredient, was no problem. That, even after four years, as many as 576 works could not be completed within the specified timeframe while curiously as many as 560 works recommended by the MPs were found ineligible means, at the very outset, seriousness and priorities in respect of selection of the required developmental activities were less than reasonably adequate.
A holistic view needs to be taken especially at the levels of District Authorities as the discretion of according sanction lies with them and where usually delays are caused. We may like to remind the District Authorities to keep in mind the fact that it was primarily the common citizen’s money that was being expended in these works and wilful delays, unbridled slackness and non serious and loose monitoring result in failure to meet timelines which mean cost escalation and again a burden on the common citizen. The public trust needs to be protected and not allowed to get drained out due to faulty implementation of the Scheme under reference.