For once, the MPs are on the other side of the fence. They feel cheated by the central and state governments as the money they contributed for the rehabilitation of victims affected by natural calamities is unused or unaccounted for. The elected representatives have no information about the money diverted from their MPLADS (Members of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme) to the affected areas.
After the 2008 Kosi floods in Bihar, 156 Lok Sabha and 173 Rajya Sabha MPs contributed Rs44.86 crore for rehabilitation and reconstruction works. “Even after the approval of works at new sites at an escalated cost, no information was available on whether or not the works were carried out,” said a report submitted by a parliamentary panel which scrutinised the usage of MPLADS funds.
The panel said it was a serious situation. It pulled up the central government for passing the buck on the state government, saying it failed to follow up the matter for five years since the funds were given to the Bihar government.
Similarly in West Bengal, where the Aila cyclone hit coastal districts in 2009, 58 out of 73 works were still incomplete.
Eleven years after the Gujarat earthquake, the state government is yet to find land for the construction of anganwadis for survivors.
Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha MPs contributed Rs49 crore for the cause. An additional Rs15 crore donated by Lok Sabha MPs for the Kutch, Rajkot, Patan and Banaskantha districts is lying unused.
The Gujarat government has also not furnished utilisation certificates for 66 anganwadis approved for construction from MPLADS. The MPs complained that they are not even allowed to identify and monitor works in calamity-hit areas. The government has also rejected a demand from the MPs to allow them to withdraw unused funds to enable them to use the amount in their constituencies.