Dispur yet to release first instalment of Rs 63 crore to develop constituencies despite 6 months of current fiscal being already up
BY OUR STAFF REPORTER
GUWAHATI, Oct 13: Six months have already elapsed in the current fincial year (FY) 2015-16. But funds meant for MLA Local Area Development has not yet been released by the Fince department of the State, leading to severe resentment among legislators, both ruling and opposition.
In every fincial year, the State exchequer releases a total amount of Rs 126 crore in two installments of Rs 63 crore each, to the deputy commissioners. But in the current fiscal, though six months have already elapsed, the exchequer has not yet released the first installment itself. For which reason, the MLAs are uble to recommend any scheme in their respective constituencies.
It may be mentioned that, an MLA can recommend schemes only after the deputy commissioner receives the fund. Each constituency is allotted Rs 1 crore for development every year. However, with only six months left for the fincial year to end and the elections coming up in eight months --- the MLAs are now in a fix, as for the last six months, they have not been able to recommend any scheme in their constituencies due to this delay.
On the other hand, even if the government decides to release the first installment by November, it is unlikely that the second installment will be released by December or January. Moreover, even if the government takes the move, due to election 'Model Code of Conduct' which will come into force after announcement of poll dates for the assembly election scheduled next year, the MLAs will not be able to make any recommendations. The Election Commission is likely to announce the dates for Assam assembly election towards the end of February or by the first week of March.
Meanwhile, it is being suspected that due to uncertainty over the fincial assistance from NITI Ayog under the Plan Head and the ongoing fincial crunch in the State, the release of MLA LAD fund has delayed, with the opposition MLAs being the worst victims. The opposition MLAs are mostly dependent on MLA LAD fund for development activities in their constituencies, as the ruling parties in general, often ignores these constituencies.
Talking to The Sentinel, AGP leader and senior MLA Phanibhushan Choudhury said, "Only six months are now left, and we are uble to understand why the fund has not yet been released. It proves that the Fince department has failed miserably and it is to be blamed for this delay."
"Often it is alleged that some MLAs don't utilize the MLA LAD fund within the time frame. When the government delays in releasing the fund, utilization is bound to get delayed," he rued.
Choudhury further said, "MLAs have discretiory powers regarding the MLA LAD fund. If this year we fail to recommend schemes, the government should be held responsible for it. This will have a serious impact on the development of the State, if not a major one."