Funds to the tune of Rs 9.42 crore, contributed by the MPs from their Members of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme (MPLADS) towards the rehabilitation works for 2001 Gujarat earthquake victims remain unspent. MPLAD funds for restoration works in the aftermath of unprecedented tsunami disaster in 2004, are yet to be fully utilised.
Same is the case with the MPLAD funds contributed for the relief works for 2008 Kosi floods victims in Bihar as well as towards those who were affected by the AILA cyclone in West Bengal in 2009.
The parliamentary standing committee on MPLADS, chaired by DMK MP A K S Vijayan deplored the ‘lack of seriousness’ displayed by the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation to ensure timely completion of works.
In its report, the committee opined that timely completion of works in areas affected by natural calamities is essential to ensure timely reach of benefits to the affected people. The funds are aimed at creating durable assets which are necessary in the affected areas.
The committee has found fault with the Ministry of Programme’s implementation plans for not having a clause on stipulation of a time limit in the MPLADS guidelines for identification, execution and completion of rehabilitation works in the affected areas.
MPs had contributed about Rs 49 crore for the rehabilitation of areas devastated by the Gujarat earthquake in 2001. The committee took serious note that Gujarat Government has not submitted proposals of the works to be undertaken out of the unspent balance of Rs 9.42 crore.
The committee recommended that if the rehabilitation works have not yet been started, then the Bihar Government should be asked to transfer the funds immediately back to the Ministry for distribution to the constituencies of the MPs who had contributed for rehabilitation works in the areas affected by Kosi floods.
The committee advocated increase in the annual ceilings in MPLADS guidelines to Rs 50 lakh to enable MPs to recommend MPLAD funds anywhere out of his or her constituency, but within the state, for rehabilitation works and to enable MPs to recommend up to Rs 1 crore in the case of ‘calamity of severe nature’ which may occur anywhere in the country.