* Since MPLADS began in 1993, Rs 5,000 crore is unspent with various district authorities.
* In 1993, Rs 5 lakh was given to each MP.
* The amount was raised to Rs 1 crore in 1994-95, further increased to Rs 2 crore in 1998.
* After a decade, in 2011, the amount was increased to Rs 5 crore.
BY OUR STAFF REPORTER
GUWAHATI, May 27: A year after they took office, eleven Lok Sabha MPs from Assam are virtually sitting on the Rs 5 crore that is set aside annually for them to develop their constituencies.
Despite being sanctioned Rs 2.5 crore by the Centre, the eleven MPs have not yet utilised their MP Local Area Development Scheme (MPLADS) funds.
However, BJP MP from Jorhat Kamakhya Tasa has spent Rs 1.88 crore of the Rs 2.5 crore he has sanctioned while Karimganj MP Radhesyam Biswas has spent Rs 1.54 crore of the Rs 1.8 crore he sanctioned.
Lakhimpur MP and Union minister Sarbanda Sonowal has recommended and sanctioned Rs 1.61 crore from his MPLADS.
All the eleven other MPs are virtually sitting on the funds.
If the money is not spent in one year, it can be spent during another.
Funded by the Union government since it began 23 years ago, MPLADS works are recommended by an MP, approved by the district collector and implemented by local authorities. The collector must ensure the work is completed within a year.
In August 2014, two months after the BJP-led tiol Democratic Alliance won elections with the slogan achche din (good times), Prime Minister rendra Modi and Rural Development Minister Nitin Gadkari urged parliamentarians to use MPLADS funds to build toilets, in line with Modi’s programme to clean India. In the same month, BJP president Amit Shah called on members of both houses of parliament to set up committees that would ensure MPLADS money was put to good use.
Many ignored appeals, especially from large States. Despite these appeals, much of the MPLADS money is unspent.
MPs from States such as Uttar Pradesh, Odisha, Assam and Rajasthan have spent less money than the tiol average. Since MPLADS began in 1993, Rs 5,000 crore is unspent with various district authorities. In 1993, Rs 5 lakh was given to each MP. This was raised to Rs 1 crore in 1994-95, further increased to Rs 2 crore in 1998. After a decade, in 2011, the amount was increased to Rs 5 crore.