State sets 45-day deadline for MPLAD projects response

Issues directive to MMRDA, civic administrations, district collectors to not keep public proposals sent by MPs pending.

The state government has issued a circular making it mandatory for district collectors, municipal corporations and MMRDA to respond within 45 days to proposals received from members of parliament for works under MP local area development (MPLAD) funds. Once a proposal is accepted, work should begin in 75 days, the circular says.

The order to ensure optimum use of development funds was issued after senior Congress MP and former Union minister Gurudas Kamat took up the issue with the state government and the Centre.

He said: "Almost a year ago, I sent a proposal for a project worth Rs 1.5 crore. Recently, I was told the stated place for the project was not acceptable. In such a scenario, how can you blame an MP for not using funds?"

A senior secretary in MMRDA admitted, "Yes, there are teething problems. A lot also depends on the nature of projects. Clearance from several agencies is needed for projects such as toilets and gardens that require land. But we are trying to expedite the process."

MLAs also cited delay in decision-making as a major reason for under-use of funds.

A senior Vidarbha Congress MLA said, "The biggest hurdle is getting clearances from multiple agencies. If I have to get a work worth Rs 50,000 done in my constituency I have to visit Mantralaya at least 15 times. Often, the impression created is we politicians withhold funds for personal use. We are just facilitators. The funds are directly released to district collectors. Our job is to get the work going. Our interest is to see people in our constituency benefit from projects we showcase as our achievements in next elections."

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