Nine months into formation of the 16th Lok Sabha, none of the 14 Jharkhand MPs has started utilising funds meant for welfare schemes in their respective constituencies, government data showed.
One of the country’s richest states in terms of natural resources, Jharkhand has lagged far behind in the development graph compared to many other states and its people still don’t have access to the basic necessities of life.
In the last parliamentary elections in mid-2014, the BJP won 12 of the state’s 14 seats, successfully selling its development agenda to the people. The local party, Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM), managed to win the remaining two seats.
Most of the MPs HT spoke to said that “delay” in release of funds under members of Parliament local area development scheme (MPLADS) have held back their plans for starting development works.
However, data available on public domain at the website of the Union ministry of statistics and programme implementation showed that the first installment of Rs 2.5 crore, out of annual entitlement of Rs 5 crore to each parliamentarian, has already been released.
The funds were released between September, 2014 and January 2, 2015.
“I have no official communication about the release of funds. I came to know about it from other sources a week ago. I have asked the district administration why I was not informed about the funds,” said Ranchi MP Ram Tahal Choudhary of the BJP.
Choudhary said he would take up schemes within a week after consultation with concerned departments.
The Ranchi administration’s views on the issue could not be obtained as state government recently transferred the deputy commissioner and deputy development commissioner of Ranchi. The new Ranchi DC took charge on Monday.
Another BJP MP Karia Munda, who represents Khunit constituency, said fund utilisation was delayed as they were released only in the first week of January.
“I will soon take up schemes at different assembly segments under my constituency to utilise the funds for development works.”
However, Hazaribagh MP and union minister of state for finance, Jayant Sinha, in his report card for nine months, has claimed that he has already used a part of the funds in installation of LED lights at a few locations.
“I have recommended the setting up of benches worth Rs. 4.98 lakh at the Ramgarh railway station. We have also identified booths and projects where further funds would be spent,” Sinha claimed in his report card.
Though Dhanbad MP Pashupati Nath Singh was not available for comments, the district administration said he was the first to get the fund in September out of which 60 per cent has already been utilised.
“Auditing of the utilised fund is going on. Once auditing is completed, it will be uploaded in the government data,” Dhanbad deputy development commissioner (DDC) CK Mandal told Hindustan Times.
Similarly, Dumka DDC Ramashankar Prasad said recommendations have been approved to utilise the first installment.
“The MPLADS funds are generally released timely. I think assembly election this year may have delayed it partially,” he said.
JMM chief Sibu Soren, who represents Dumka in the Lok Sabha, too was not available for his comments.