NEW DELHI: Lok Sabha MP Kunwar Danish Ali on Tuesday urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to restore the Member of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme (MPLADS) so that legislators can set up oxygen plants in their constituencies and provide for other healthcare needs in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic's second wave.
The government suspended MPLADS during 2020-21 and 2021-22, and said the funds will be used for managing health services and the adverse impact of COVID-19 pandemic in the country.
In a letter to the prime minister, the BSP leader Ali flagged the "very serious situation" arising due to the spread of coronavirus in his parliamentary constituency of Amroha in Uttar Pradesh.
"The people of Amroha Lok Sabha constituency are in the grip of COVID-19 pandemic. The disease has spread from village to village...There is a huge shortage of medicines, beds, oxygen and other medical facilities necessary to deal with this disease but there is hardly any medical support to save precious lives," he said.
As per the decision of the Union government, the MPLAD funds for the years 2020-21 and 2021-22 were suspended with the aim of fighting COVID-19 and providing medical facilities throughout the country, including Amroha, Ali said.
"No notable medical facility has been provided in my parliamentary constituency till date with the PMCARES or MPLAD scheme's suspended funds. Because of this, the people of my constituency are facing great difficulties in this crisis of pandemic and are facing untimely death due to non-availability of basic medical infrastructure," he claimed.
"In view of the catastrophic situation created by the second wave of Covid, as a representative of my people, I request you to immediately release the funds to all the MPs of the country that have been withheld for two years (2020-21 and 2021-22) under the MPLAD scheme so that I and all other Members of Parliament could try to save the lives by setting up oxygen plants in their parliamentary constituencies and providing relief and all other necessary facilities to the victims," he said.
The Lok Sabha MP called for decentralisation of responsibility of providing healthcare facilities.
The handing over of funds of MPLADS to all MPs and other public representatives who know their area well, would be a very important step in enabling them to provide relief to the people of their area, Ali asserted.
He said the district administration is also expressing its helplessness in providing relief to the people of his constituency.
"In this crisis, I would like to state that during the first wave of COVID-19 pandemic in the country in 2020, I also donated my one month's salary to the PMCARES fund," he said.