Taking a strong view of the Central government refusing to release pending instalments of MPLAD scheme up to March 30 last due to the impact of COVID-19, vice-chairman of the Telangana State Planning Board B. Vinod Kumar has reminded the Centre that small contractors who executed the works under the scheme were suffering a lot as they did not receive the money.
Mr.Vinod Kumar addressed a letter in this regard to Union Minister for Statistics and Programmes Implementation Rao Inderjit Singh, highlighting that works worth ₹ 150 crore which were booked against Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha members of Telangana were grounded in Telangana under the scheme in the last term of Lok Sabha. All the works were executed and due for payment.
He reacted to an earlier letter received from the Deputy Director of MPLADS which said “the Union Cabinet had decided not to operate the MPLAD scheme for the years 2020-21 and 2021-22. Currently, there was no budget head available with the Finance Ministry which could be utilised for release of any unreleased instalments, including those from previous financial year up to 31-03-2020”.
Mr. Vinod Kumar expressed concern that the dues were not released in spite of repeated reminders made by the MPs for the last one and a half years. Release of ₹ 95 crore pertaining to Lok Sabha members and ₹ 55 crore of Rajya Sabha members had been due for one and a half years.
He lamented that the Union Cabinet took the decision not to operate the scheme for two years but did not stop payment incurred earlier during the 16th Lok Sabha. “It is unfortunate that the Cabinet has taken a decision to stop funds for the members of the 17th Lok Sabha, but the government was denying funds due to the members of the 16th Lok Sabha also”, he said.
This is highly objectionable and exposed the “negligent attitude” of the Centre towards the developmental activities taken up through these funds, he said.
He expressed concern that though works relating to MPLADS funds were completed, there were inordinate delays in the release of funds.