BELAGAVI: While the stage is set for the 17th Lok Sabha elections, it has come to light that MPs of the state have not effectively utilised all the MP funds released by the government during the past five years. In this period, MPs had the scope to get a total of Rs 700 crore, with Rs 25 crore annually for the development of their respective LS constituencies.
According to official records, the MPs could avail of Rs 559 crore, including the rate of interest, but Rs 82.5 crore remains unspent during the 16th Lok Sabha term in Karnaaka.With the poll code in place, the unutilised money remains with the government’s exchequer as it is not possible for elected representatives to recommend to district authorities to utilise the funds now. Of 28 MPs, two from the Congress and one from the BJP have got their entire fund share of Rs 25 crore each. An amount of Rs 2.50 crore each was lost due to the by-elections for the Mandya, Shivamogga and Ballari LS seats.
Also, a large chunk of funds remains unutilised due to technical problems that cropped up, with many MPs sending proposals to the district authorities for the release of funds to temples, community halls and establishment of drinking water units, sources said. The total MP fund under the Members of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme (MPLADS) available from May 2014 until now, for all 28 constituencies, was actually.
Rs 700 crore, but it slipped to Rs 690 crore following the resignations by MPs B S Yeddyurappa of Shivamogga, Sriramulu of Ballari and CS Puttaraju of Mandya, while the demise of former Union minister Ananth Kumar is also to be considered. Of Rs 690 crore, the government released a total of Rs 542 crore for the five-year term, based on the progress of work initiated by MPs in their constituencies.
However, including the rate of interest, a total of Rs 559 crore was available, of which MPs of the state could utilise Rs 476.72 crore. The MPs have submitted a petition to the government contending that Rs 476.72 crore was spent during their term in the past five years.
Meanwhile, the amount which remains unutilised will not go waste as the same could be used by leaders who are elected for the next term, sources said, adding that since many MPs fail to utilise the funds effectively term after term, they pile up. They said, “The district authorities inform the respective MPs soon after the release of every installment of MP funds. A report is also being sent to the Centre quarterly, on the funds spent and the amount that remained unutilised for that period,” sources added.