Nearly Rs 29 cr MPLADS funds lying unspent in J&K, Rs 47.50 cr yet to be released by Centre

State Level Review Committee fails to act on MoSPI directives
Distt authorities soft-paddling on utilization of available money

Mohinder Verma

JAMMU, Jan 4: Nearly Rs 29 crore funds under Member of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme (MPLADS) of sitting Members of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha from Jammu and Kashmir have been lying unspent till date. Moreover, an amount of Rs 47.50 crore under the entitlement of the MPs is yet to be released by the Union Government although term of 16th Lok Sabha will formally end in next few months.
As per the guidelines of the Member of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme, each Member of Lok Sabha is entitled to Rs 25 crore for full term while as each Member of Rajya Sabha is entitled to Rs 20 crore.
While three sitting MPs of Lok Sabha namely Muzaffar Hussain Baig (Baramulla), Dr Jitendra Singh (Udhampur) and Jugal Kishore Sharma (Jammu) are entitled for full Rs 25 crore Constituency Development Fund, Dr Farooq Abdullah (Srinagar) is entitled to only Rs 12.50 crore MPLADS funds as he became Lok Sabha Member only for half of the term in April 2017 when he won Srinagar Parliamentary Constituency, which had fallen vacant after the resignation of Tariq Hameed Karra from the Lok Sabha.
At present, there is no Member of Parliament from Anantnag Parliamentary Constituency as by-polls for this seat could not be conducted in April 2017 due to disturbed law and order situation in South Kashmir. The Ladakh Parliamentary seat fell vacant in the recent past following resignation of Thupstan Chhewang.
Against the total entitlement of Rs 87.50 crore in respect of four sitting Members of Lok Sabha, the Government of India has released only Rs 60 crore—Rs 12.50 crore for Baramulla Parliamentary constituency, Rs 20 crore for Udhampur Lok Sabha constituency, Rs 7.50 crore for Srinagar Parliamentary constituency and Rs 20 crore for Jammu Lok Sabha seat as such Rs 27.50 crore against the total entitlement of these four constituencies is yet to be released.
Against Rs 60 crore released by the Government of India under MPLADS for these four Lok Sabha seats, an expenditure of only Rs 45.19 crore has been made till date thereby leaving Rs 14.91 crore as unspent balance, reveal expenditure details of Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, the copy of which is available with EXCELSIOR.
As far as Rajya Sabha is concerned, there are four Members from J&K namely Nazir Ahmed Laway, Shamsher Singh Manhas, Mir Mohammad Fayaz and Ghulam Nabi Azad. These MPs are entitled to total Rs 80 crore funds under MPLADS. However, Government of India has released Rs 60 crore so far.
Against Rs 65.27 crore including interest, expenditure of Rs 51.38 crore has been made till date thereby leaving Rs 13.80 crore as unspent balance.
Holding the concerned district authorities responsible for unspent balance, sources said, “under MPLADS the role of the Members of Parliament is limited only up to recommendation of works. Thereafter, it is the responsibility of the district authorities to sanction, execute and complete the works”.
As per the guidelines of the scheme, the State Level Review Committee headed by the Chief Secretary is supposed to hold at least one meeting in a year to resolve issues pertaining to MPLADS implementation and send minutes of the same to the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MoSPI).
“However, the State Level Review Committee has not met as per the prescribed time-frame as a result of which several issues pertaining to implementation of scheme remain unresolved in several constituencies”, official sources said, adding “this is notwithstanding the fact that direction for holding meeting was also passed in a meeting convened by the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation in the month of September last year”.
Moreover, nodal district authorities were directed by the Ministry to initiate steps to establish the facilitation centres for the MPs at the district level. “But this direction has also remained unimplemented till date”, sources informed.