Legislators demonstrate outside the Assembly on Saturday demanding special status for Jharkhand. (Hardeep Singh)
Ranchi, Feb. 22: Finance minister Rajendra Prasad Singh said in the Assembly today that orders had been issued by his department for release of MLA Local Area Development Fund for the 2013-14 fiscal, a day after the government faced flak from the Opposition for delay in clearing the grants.
Yesterday, the MLAs, cutting across political lines, had said during debates on the third supplementary budget that once the model code of conduct came into effect, they would not be able to utilise the funds.
“Instructions have been given for one-time release of funds. Earlier, the money could not be released, as the districts did not furnish utilisation certificates of previous allocations. However, an exception is being made this time and utilisation certificates will not be required,” Singh informed the House.
“But rules do say that the district administrations have to show utilisation certificates of sanctioned funds. MLAs should not suffer due to problems in furnishing certificates,” he added.
Welcoming the decision, BJP MLA C.P. Singh today said that local area development fund was the only resource available to MLAs to recommend projects like road, community building, health initiative and the like.
Each MLA receives Rs 3 crore. At present, there are 82 legislators in the Assembly.
Bandh on March 2
JVM and Ajsu have separately called statewide bandh on March 2 in demand for special status for Jharkhand.
“Jharkhand has not got its due because of the BJP and the Congress. National parties are insensitive towards the state’s rights. Even the JMM is toeing Congress’s line. Our party will observe a bandh on March 2 to press for special status for the state. We will seek support from like-minded forces,” JVM MLA Pradeep Yadav said.
When told that Ajsu has also made a similar announcement, Yadav called it a good sign as regional parties were thinking on the same lines for state-related issues.