The policies regarding the distribution of Member of Parliament Local Area Development (MP LAD) funds have come into the way of Patiala MP Dr Dharamvira Gandhi, as his request to release `6 lakh for buying safe kits for sewage workers was turned down by the district administration, citing the rules prohibiting the same.
Dr Gandhi had sent a proposal to the Patiala municipal corporation (MC), which they further forwarded to the Patiala deputy commissioner (DC) for the approval. However, DC Ramvir Singh turned down the request, quoting that the money to benefit any individual could not be released from the MPLAD fund.
Dr Gandhi said the issue was largely in public interest, as in the last three years, four workers had died due to suffocation while cleaning the sewage. He said, “The reason for their death was that they were ill equipped to perform their job.”
Gandhi said after having a discussion with the deputy commissioner, he had written to the MPLAD fund committee seeking the solution. He said he had put the request of purchasing the kits and asked for an amount of `6 lakh, which was denied. He said he was struggling with the MPLAD policies for the release of the money for purchasing the kits.
Patiala mayor Amarinder Singh Bajaj said, “The MC has its own kits, which we distribute according to the work assigned to the contractors. We hire contractual labourers for the work and provide them the kits in case the contractor fails to provide it to them.”
Bajaj said Dr Gandhi’s request was forwarded to the DC as he had the authority to release the amount from the MPLAD fund.
Meanwhile, Dr Gandhi said the MC had sublet the work of sewage cleaning to the private contractors with guidelines that were continuously violated by the contractors due to which four sewage workers died in the past three years. He added that the MC and the state government were equally responsible for the safety of the sewage workers, but they remained mute spectators.
Dr Gandhi said he was searching the way out for purchasing the disposable kits from the MPLAD funds. He added that he would write to the Centre, seeking solution on the issue.