Information obtained under the Right to Information Act has revealed that the funds allotted over the years to several MPs from the state under the Member of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme (MPLADS) are lying unutilised. The RTI query was filed with the office of the Accountant General (AG) of Mumbai by an activist Vihar Durve on July 15, and the reply was received on July 24.
The reply revealed that tainted city MP Suresh Kalmadi and Baramati MP Supriya Sule of the NCP were among those who had failed to put to use the allotted funds during previous terms. MPs get annual funds for development schemes for their constituencies and it is expected that they should use these within five years. An inspection report by the office of the AG revealed that Kalmadi did not utilise Rs 69.19 lakh allotted in the nine-year period from 1995 to 2004.
Sule failed to utilise Rs 52.79 lakh from 2006-2009, when she was a Rajya Sabha MP from the state. The inspection report also disclosed the names of a few other MPs who had not used their allotted funds. The late Congress MP Vitthal Gadgil did not use the Rs 24.68 lakh of the funds allotted in the period 1993-1998, while the late NCP MP Vasant Chavan did not use Rs 14.85 lakh in the period 2005-2009.
Not true, says Sule
Sule said it was not true that she had not utilised her MPLADS funds and that she would go over the amount spent by heragain. She said she had spent not only the funds allotted to her as a Rajya Sabha MP but also the funds she got as a Lok Sabha MP. Kalmadi’s close aide Raja Mahajan said the lawmaker was not available to speak on the issue as he was in London for the Olympics.
District Collector Vikas Deshmukh denied that any funds had been left unutilised by MPs. “The annual funds are allocated every year. At the end of the year, the funds get carried forward to the next year. After every five years, they get lapsed,” Deshmukh said. “If any MP is re-elected, then his unused funds from the previous term are not to be carried forwarded. If a Rajya Sabha MP is elected to the Lok Sabha, then also the funds are not to be carried forwarded and get lapsed.”
RTI activist Durve said as these funds were allotted for public works, if any amount was left unused then it should be published on the Parliament website along with the reason for non-utilisation of the funds. “Since this is public money, transparency and accountability is a must while using these funds,” Durve said.
What is MPLADS?
UNDER the Member of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme, funds are allotted to help MPs execute small works
of a local nature to meet the urgent needs of their constituents. When the scheme began, the annual grant was Rs 50 lakh per MP. The amount was increased to Rs 1 crore in 1994-95 and
to Rs 2 crore in 1998-99. The amount was further increased to
Rs 5 crore last year.