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To expedite approval of city projects under MLAs’ local area development (LAD) funds, the government has made local municipal corporations as the nodal agency, replacing the office of district collector.
In the existing system, LAD funds — Rs 1 crore given to each of the MLAs annually for undertaking development work in their constituencies — used to be allotted to the offices of district collectors and district planning committees, who were the sanctioning authority. For projects falling in the municipal corporation areas, the collector used to send the proposal to the local body for technical sanction, and after getting the required approval, the collector would forward it to district planning committee chaired by minister in-charge of the district for final approval. After the final approval, the proposal would again go back to the civic body for implementation of the project.
“But now the General Administration Department of the state government has decided that the LAD funds of those MLAs whose constituencies fall entirely within limits of municipal corporations will be deposited with municipal corporation, instead of district collector,” Rajkot Municipal Commissioner Banchhanidhi Pani said.
In the new set-up, the technical sanction will be granted by city engineer or additional city engineer. In case of non-technical projects, such an approval will be given by officers of department concerned of the local civic body. The administrative approval for such projects will be granted by deputy municipal commissioners. After technical and administrative approval is obtained, the local body would send the proposal to district planning committee for final approval.
The new system, which came into effect from this financial year, would significantly reduce the time for approval of city projects.
However, the LAD funds of those MLAs, whose constituencies fall partly in city limits or entirely in rural areas will, continue to be managed by district collectors. Welcoming the decision of the state government, BJP MLA for Rajkot South Govind Patel said: “In the existing structure, almost four to five months used to lapse between the date we used to suggest a project and actual work starting on it. But now, the coordination will be more streamlined and approval will be faster.”
While Rajkot (West) is represented by Chief Minister Vijay Rupani in the Assembly, Indranil Rajyaguru is the Congress MLA from Rajkot (East).