Chandigarh: The Aam Aadmi Party senior leader and MLA Sunam Aman Arora on Friday wrote a letter to the chief minister Capt. Amarinder Singh demanding allocation of MLALAD to the MLAs of Punjab on the line of MPLAD allotted to the members of parliament.
Through his letter Arora said, “I wish to draw your kind attention to the long-standing demand for allocation of MLALAD funds to the elected members of the assembly for the integrated development of their respective constituencies.”
He said that the Member of Parliament (MP) and Members of Legislative Assembly (MLA) local development area fund was kick started by the then prime minister PV Narsimha Rao to enable the area MLAs and MPs to utilize the funds to carry out the developmental works in their respective constituencies as per the requirement of a particular area. He said that under the scheme, MPs are allocated funds worth 5 crore per annum and MLAs in various states of the country get funds, ranging from Rs 2 to 4 crore, depending upon the areas under development. It is a matter of utter disgrace and discrimination that the long-pending demand of the Punjab state MLAs to allocate the requisite funds for the development of their respective areas has been hanging fire for a pretty long time now.
“In this regard I wish to invite your immediate attention towards the Arvind Kejriwal-led government in Delhi, which has already raised the existing amount of 4 crore to ten crore per MLA (Copy of Delhi government’s notification enclosed for ready reference and perusal). It feels so bad when someone from your constituency calls on you to draw our attention towards the pending works in their respective areas. One has to cut a sorry figure since you have no funds under your sleeve. Puerile as may sound, a village panch or a sarpanch enjoys no financial powers when it comes to spend on development of their area whereas an MLA representing a vast majority of people worth more than lakh is bereft of any funds for public welfare works.” He said.
The million-dollar question here is that why a scheme launched with much fanfare by a Congress-led government was stalled and not implemented even as three Congress-led governments have ruled the state of Punjab since it was floated in 1993 for larger public interest.
Arora said, “I do not find it out of place to mention that during a budget session of the Assembly, last year, I had demanded through a private member bill to hike and allocate Rs 3 crore funds per MLA so that he/she could make use them for public welfare works. I may further add that you had kept my submission in abeyance, citing shaky financial health of the state. Your assurance to implement it once the cash-strapped state was back on the track has not been redeemed”.
He said that it is a matter of great satisfaction that the state is back to the pink of financial health. “I quote the statement made by state finance minister Manpreet Singh Badal days ago, saying the state was back on the track. In the light of the facts enumerated above, I would appeal to you to review the pending demand of the state MLAs for allocation of MLALAD funds by clearing it in the 2019-20 budget session cutting above the petty party lines so that the pending public welfare works could be taken up to conclusive end.” Arora said.