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Funds breather for MLAs

- Calm ahead of the storm?

Patna, Feb. 5: Bihar legislators now have something to cheer about. They have been empowered to recommend work under the Chief Minister Area Development Scheme (CMADS) up to Rs 7.5 lakh for which there would be no tenders.

A decision to this effect was taken at a meeting of the cabinet chaired by chief minister Nitish Kumar this evening. The decision assumes significance in the wake of the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.

Earlier, all work had to be routed through the planning and development department, which used to float the tenders for them. Now the departments concerned too can get the work done, that too without issuing any tender.

Under the CMADS scheme, the tenders were floated for every work and executed by the regional area engineering organisation consisting of bureaucrats and engineers. The legislators had no liberty to select the agency for the execution of the work.

Political analysts viewed the latest decision as an attempt to mollify legislators, especially after the rumblings in the ruling JD(U) in the aftermath of the resignation of social welfare minister Parveen Amanullah. “The system which was in vogue before 2010 has been restored,” a senior leader said.

The previous system was abolished in 2010 after the scrapping of the local area development fund. Under the scheme, the tenders were floated for every work and executed by the regional area engineering organisation.

Nitish’s sop to keep his flock happy would help 243 members of the Legislative Assembly and 75 members of the Legislative Council, who would now be able to allot work to the persons of their choice without any tender. The material for the work would be supplied on the basis of quotations and the payments would be made through master rolls.

Under the CMADS, an MLA or an MLC has recommend work amounting to Rs 2 crore in his constituency.

Principal secretary, cabinet coordination, Brajesh Mehrotra said the cabinet approved the road construction department’s proposal, which empowered the departments concerned to get work up to Rs.7.5 lakh without issuing any tender. “Certain amendments have been made in the existing rules,” he added.

The cabinet approved another important decision about the various demands of the Bihar Health Services Association. Among their demands were hike in the stipend of post-graduate students (read junior doctors), parity in the fixed remuneration of dental doctors appointed on contract and regularisation of the services of those doctors appointed on contract.

Mehrotra said the majority of the demands of the Bihar Health Services Association have got the seal of the cabinet. The demand for setting up a high level committee has also been met, he added.

The cabinet also approved the planning and development department’s proposal for creation of 670 posts for strengthening the regional area engineering organisation. Also, the retirement age of doctors working in different universities has been raised from 62 to 65 years.


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