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Nivedita Khandekar, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, October 13, 2013
The 70 MLAs of Delhi had Rs. 1,120 crore to spend on development works since April 2009 under the local area development (LAD) scheme. Of this total, each MLA got Rs. 6 crore to spend on developing his/her constituency. A large chunk of the money may have been spent but was it utilized well? And were Delhiites made aware that such an amount was available for their area's development or were they even consulted about their requirements?

The answer to these questions was a resounding no and it was evident from the presentation made by Satark Nagrik Sangathan (SNS), an independent citizens' group which aims to promote transparency and accountability in governance.

The presentation was made during a meeting called by Delhi Residents Welfare Association Joint Front on Sunday. On display was a combined report card for all the 70 MLAs: How they spent the money under MLA LAD, their attendance in the assembly or the number of questions they raised.

One of the points raised at the meeting was about the district redressal committees of which MLAs are to be members. These committees were supposed to look into problems relating to water, electricity and occurrence of epidemics. But the SNS data revealed that not a single district had such a committee in 2011-12.

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Anjali Bhardwaj of SNS said the question is do we need to replace the incompetent system or make the existing one work by engaging people? "The elected representatives need to be answerable to their electorate," KK Ghei from Preet Vihar representing the east Delhi RWAs said.

"The presentation has exposed the MLAs and how they cheat us," said Ashok Prabhakar from Malviya Nagar RWA.

SC Kansal from South Extension II blamed citizens from elite colonies who don't vote and said, "That's why the MLAs neglect them", while Rajiv Kakria from Greater Kailash said Delhi required another 'Delhi Come Out and Vote' campaign as had happened ahead of the municipal polls in 2012.

Kartar Kapoor from Safdarjung Enclave said the gap between demand and supply is increasing and there was neither a system nor management which results in poor show of works. Pankaj Agrawal of the Joint Front said: "We will build up on this meeting. We are basically looking at people's manifesto and more and more participation from people in governance."