Jalpaiguri, March 10: Only three of the dozen Jalpaiguri district MLA’s have been able to exhaust the annual MLA allocation of Rs 60 lakh in the last two years.
The Jalpaiguri district administration now has total unused funds of Rs 2 crore when there are only three weeks for this financial year to end.
The MLA's get Rs 60 lakh a year under the MLA’s local area development funds. If the money is unused it is carried forward to the next year. But after five years, the unused funds goes back to the government. The MLA's are sanctioned money after they submit project plans to the district administration.
This year, there is another angle to the problem of unused funds — the possible announcement of rural polls.
District officials said that if the rural polls are announced this month, they would not be able to release funds after that as this would be a violation of the election model code.
“Every year, each MLA gets a sum of Rs 60 lakh for carrying out development in his/her constituency. In the past two fiscals, each of them received a total of Rs 1.2 crore but most of them could not submit projects for the sanctioning of funds for development purposes,” a senior official of Jalpaiguri district administration said.
“The current fiscal will end in three weeks and if the dates for the panchayat polls are announced, no money will be disbursed for the projects. The development projects in the constituencies of these MLA's would be delayed.”
Information available with the administration shows that Kumari Kuzur, the RSP MLA of Birpara-Madarihat seat, could not spent a sum of Rs 32.91 lakh since 2011, making her spending the lowest.
Next to her is the CPM MLA of Dhupguri, Mamata Roy, who has a sum of Rs 30 lakh left unutilised.
“Debaprasad Roy, the Congress MLA of Alipurduar, could not spend Rs 26.64 lakh while Bulu Chik Barai, the CPM MLA of Malbazar, has Rs 26 lakh unutilised,” an administration source said.
“Among those who could spend the entire fund or most of it, are Gautam Deb, Jalpaiguri Congress MLA Sukhbilas Barma and Dasrath Tirkey, the RSP MLA of Kumargram. Also, Anil Adhikary, the Trinamul MLA of Falakata, has only Rs 1 lakh left in his account as unutilised,” the source said.
The MLA's, who are yet to spend the money, said they would soon send several proposals to the district administration so that the funds are sanctioned at the earliest and within the current fiscal.
“I am aware that a substantial sum is lying unutilised with the administration, which I am supposed to spend for development of my constituency. A number of projects involving infrastructural development like roads and drinking water supply would be sent to the administration within next few days,” Mamata Roy, the CPM MLA of Dhupguri, said. Others, when contacted, said similar things.
Smaraki Mahapatra, the district magistrate of Jalpaiguri, however, was apprehensive. “In case the panchayat elections are announced, none of these projects can be executed till the rural polls are over.”