STOCK MARKET BSE NSE

COVID-19 fallout: Odisha government may slash MLALAD fund

The government had announced in the 2020-21 annual budget to increase the MLALAD from Rs 1 crore to Rs 3 crore.

Published: 09th August 2020 11:25 AM  |   Last Updated: 09th August 2020 11:25 AM   |  A+A-

Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik

Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik (File Photo| EPS)

Express News Service

BHUBANESWAR:  As State finances will take months to improve, the Government is  contemplating to reduce the corpus of the Local Area Development (LAD) fund and has put a cap on its expenditure to minimise non-Covid expenses.

The Government had announced in the 2020-21 annual budget to increase the MLALAD from Rs 1 crore to Rs 3 crore.

Of this, Rs 2 crore was meant for general development works while Rs 50 lakh each was earmarked to be utilised for roads and development works of colleges in the constituencies.

However, in view of the Covid-19 pandemic and the state of the economy, Government seems not in favour of increasing the MLALAD fund. Instead, it has put a cap of Rs 50 lakh on MLALAD expenditure, which can only be spent on Covid-19 management in the constituencies. The Centre has already suspended MPLAD fund for the next two years, 2020-21 and 2021-22. 

Leader of the Congress Legislature Party (CLP) Narasingh Mishra said he has placed Rs 50 lakh with the district collectors for Covid related expenditure out of which Rs 20 lakh was utilised for distribution of food packets for bus, truck, taxi drivers during the lockdown period when they were out of work. However, rest of the MLALAD fund has been withheld and there is no sanction for expenditure in any work at the constituency level, he said and added that it has become very difficult for the legislators to function. 

He said salary of the MLAs has also been drastically cut by 70 per cent. Earlier, an MLA used to get salary of Rs 98,000. But now he gets only Rs 29,000, he said and added that all allowances have also been slashed.
Opposition Chief Whip Mohan Majhi admitted that after placement of Rs 50 lakh from the MLALAD, the rest of the fund has been frozen. “We cannot take up any development work at the constituency level and no one is ready to listen also,” he said.

A BJD MLA, requesting anonymity, also alleged that when legislators are contacting the district planning office, there is only one reply, “Funds have not been placed under MLALAD.” The BJD MLA maintained that the situation is likely to continue till State finances improved. Finance department officials, however, did not respond. The MLAs said Government has not issued any letter to them in this regard also. The ruling BJD legislator said that district collectors have been instructed verbally.

Minister of State for Science and Technology Ashok Chandra Panda said Rs 1 crore from the MLALAD has been placed in the district planning offices. Out of this, Rs 50 lakh has been spent on Covid management. In the three Bhubaneswar assembly constituencies, Rs 50 lakh each will be spent on setting up Covid Care Homes (CCHs), he said. As the assembly is likely to be convened in the last week of August or first week of September, MLAs cutting across partylines are expected to raise the issue.

More from Odisha.

Comments

Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the newindianexpress.com editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on newindianexpress.com are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of newindianexpress.com or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. newindianexpress.com reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

IPL_2020
flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp