WHILE EVERY year, MPs are allocated Rs 5 crore under the MPLAD (Member of Parliament Local Area Development) Scheme primarily to take up development projects in their respective constituencies, Pune MPs are demanding more funds although they are yet to exhaust their existing funds.
Three of the Pune MPs have supported the latest proposal, which is currently being considered by the Finance Ministry to enhance funds given to parliamentarians. Only Pune city MP Anil Shirole has opposed the move, saying, “if the funds can be managed well, it is enough”.
With a total of Rs 5 crore allocated each for 2014-15 and 2015-16, only Shirur Lok Sabha MP has exhausted the funds of Rs 10 crore over the two years, while the remaining are yet to exhaust the funds allocated under MPLAD. Pune district MPs in the last two years have suggested works worth Rs 27.52 crore for their constituencies.
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Some of the projects listed include road works, facelift of railway stations, bus sheds, construction of multi-purpose halls, crematoriums, street lights, better irrigation facilities, among others.
Shirur Lok Sabha MP Shivaji Adhalrao Patil has shown Rs 9.9 crore worth works undertaken over the two years leading the pack with maximum work done and funds utilised.
Baramati Lok Sabha MP Supriya Sule has shown work estimate worth Rs 7.23 crore, Maval MP Shrirang Barne has put his estimate for two years at Rs 6.99 crore while Pune city MP Anil Shirole has completed works worth Rs 3.30 crore_the lowest among the four MPs in the district.
Under the MPLAD scheme, an MP is entitled to a sum of Rs 25 crore for a period of five years of their tenure, is meant to be used for developmental works in their constituencies.
The first installment of the amount was released in October 2014. Every year, the allocation is Rs 5 crore to a parliamentarian although they can take an advance depending on the work. Of the projects worth Rs 27.52 crore that has been taken up by the four MPs in the district, only 531 of the 823 projects have taken of.
Asked whether funds should be increased, Shirole said, “It is not required. If the funds can be managed well, it is quite enough.” Shirole has put forth slightly different works for Pune’s development, which include railway beautification works, solar panels and even PMPML sheds. Shirole said that if the budgetary allocation is planned, the amount should be enough. “It is all about planning,’’ he said.
However, his counterparts differed with the view. Shirur MP Shivajiadhalrao Patil said that with six assembly constituencies under him, at least Rs 2 crore each should be allocated and the amount should be increased to Rs 12 crore.
“When an MLA can have Rs 2 crore allocation for their assembly constituency, why can’t an MP, who has more constituencies, be allocated more funds?” said Adhalrao, who has a list of 390 works and has received Rs 9.9 crore. The increase in funds was raised in Lok Sabha and Union Minister for Statistics and Programme Implementation VK Singha said the proposal to enhance funds was under consideration by the finance minister.
MP Supriya Sule from Baramati said that every MP in the country demands more funds. “This is work for development and even if they put up stringent levels of monitoring, more funds should be allocated. Increase, the transparency, but also increase the fund to at least somewhere between Rs 10 and 20 crore,’’ said Sule who has suggested nearly 162 works of development of which 100 works are underway.
MP Shrirang Barne from Maval corroborated Sule saying that funds can lead to better development in the area. Although MPs are seeking more money, city activists say that they should first try to deliver what they promise.
“What is the point of increasing funds when the MPs are doing the same work as the local corporators. The guidelines of MPLAD need to change and it should clearly spell out guidelines where the funds should be utilised and which area deserves it the most,’’ said activist Vivek Velankar.
Meanwhile, the MPs, when asked about the under-utilised funds, blame it on the department that take time to prepare the estimate.