MPLAD funds remain unutilized in Odisha

Bhubaneswar: Not even a single MP from Odisha has fully utilized the Rs 5 crore available under the Member of Parliament Local Area Development (MPLAD) fund for the development of their constituencies.

Union Minister of Statistics and Programme Implementation, Sadananda Gowda, while replying to a question in Lok Sabha, said that only 35 MPs of the country have completely utilised their MPLAD fund (as on December 10).

Out of the 35 MPs, the highest – 10 MPs are from West Bengal and six from Uttar Pradesh. These figures peg the unutilized amount under MPLAD fund across the country at Rs 4,480.14 crore.

In Odisha alone, the unutilized amount is Rs 249.5 crore. While it is alleged that Odisha MPs are ignoring their MPLAD funds for vested interests, the Parliamentarians have strongly refuted the allegations and blamed the Centre instead.

Bhubaneswar MP Prasanna Patsani said that the Centre is not sanctioning money for panchayats and just conspiring to blame the State. Bargarh MP Prabhas Singh blamed the district authorities for allegedly delaying implementation of recommendations. “Delay is submission of Utilization Certificates for MPLAD projects is the main hindrance in proper utilization of funds,” he said.

He further said that district collectors should ensure expeditious implementation of projects with probity and transparency. On the other hand, it is alleged that illegal percentage commission (PC) practice in government project is the main reason for under-utilization of the funds.

“There is a practice of earning money through PC by allotting works under MPLAD. A contractor has to pay such commission to the MPs and if he fails, pending bills are never cleared,” said Jagadananda, former member of State Information Commission.