ROURKELA: Legislators of mineral rich areas of Sundargarh have accused the district administration of keeping them in dark on projects funded by District Mineral Foundation (DMF) and Odisha Mineral Bearing Area Development Corporation (OMBADC).
Five MLAs from opposition parties Kusum Tete of Sundargarh, Bhawani Bhoi of Talsara and Shankar Oram of Birmitrapur, all from BJP, Dr CS Rajen Ekka of Rajgangpur (Congress) and Laxman Munda of Bonai (CPM) have joined hands and decided to meet Sundargarh Collector and DMF chairman-cum-managing trustee Nikhil Pawan Kalyan over the issue.
All of the leaders are ex-officio members of DMF. The move comes after the administration did not respond to a letter written by Tete three-anda- half months back. Tete had urged the Collector to provide details of projects funded from DMF, OMBADC, 14th finance commission and other Central grants along with utilisation status from 2017-18 till date.
The letter, dated September 8, also sought details of upcoming projects for better monitoring. The legislator said four of her counterparts have expressed concerns over massive expenditure undertaken from DMF in a non-transparent manner. She said in October this year, the development of ‘Bijuli Bandh’ a water body of Sundargarh town, was undertaken at a cost of Rs 25.90 crore from DMF.
However, the MLA was not given information on the project components and procedures followed in awarding the contract for the project. Tete said there are several such instances of the district administration acting on its own will and it owes an explanation to the public. She said the Collector has agreed to meet the MLAs over the issue in a week.
Similar allegations were levelled by Bonal MLA Munda, who said he was not informed of the available funds under DMF and the total expenditure incurred on projects so far. Stating that a major piped water project was started without his knowledge, he said lack of transparency can result in wasteful expenditure, misuse of funds and sub-standard quality of work and corruption. The Assembly constituencies of Tete and Munda contribute a lion’s share of mining royalty from the district to the State exchequer of which 30 per cent goes to the DMF.