Fifteen MLAs from the district, including the nominated MLA, have so far spent Rs.6.53 crore for various development projects out of their collective local area development fund of Rs.15 crore allotted for the current fiscal.
Each MLA has been allotted Rs.1 crore, an increase from Rs.75 lakh till the 2011-12 fiscal, for development work in their constituencies. Administrative sanction is given in advance for the projects to be undertaken using this fund.
However, the funds being made available in three quarterly tranches would be released only after the works are completed and bills presented along with supporting documents and photographs of the completed works.
The funds are predominantly used for constructing roads and buildings, especially primary health centres, schools, anganwadis, and libraries.
Nominated MLA Ludy Luis leads the pack in terms of utilisation of MLA Local Area Development Fund. He has already spent Rs.84.32 lakh for various development projects.
PWD Minister and Kalamassery MLA V.K. Ebrahim Kunju is close on the heels with Rs.83.49 lakh followed by Kunnathunadu MLA V.P. Sajeendran with Rs.78.50 lakh.
Vypeen MLA S. Sarma (Rs.69.87 lakh), Perumbavoor MLA Saju Paul (Rs.69.60 lakh), Aluva MLA Anwar Sadat (Rs.64.76 lakh), Ernakulam MLA Hibi Eden (Rs.57.44 lakh), Muvattupuzha MLA Joseph Vazhakkan (Rs.41.34 lakh), Kochi MLA Dominic Presentation (Rs.31.01 lakh), Food Minister and Piravom MLA Anoop Jacob (Rs.26.50 lakh), Paravur MLA V.D. Satheesan (Rs.19.37 lakh), and Kothamangalam MLA T.U. Kuruvilla (Rs.19 lakh) make up the rest of the list.
While Excise and Ports Minister and Tripunithura MLA K. Babu and Angamaly MLA Jose Thettayil may not have opened their account, it does not indicate that they have neglected their constituencies. It is just that MLAs have their own style in utilising funds. In fact, these two MLAs are known for effectively utilising their funds by carefully choosing the projects and closely monitoring their execution.
So, often there is a release of huge tranches from their funds in a go with the completion of those projects, collectorate sources said. Anyway these funds do not lapse and get accumulated over the years, they pointed out. There have been instances of funds from even the former MLAs of various constituencies getting accumulated.
The works using the MLA Local Area Development Fund are expected to be completed within six months. However, work often overshoot the permitted time limit, but not because of the dearth of funds. For, this is one fund that is unaffected no matter how worse the overall financial situation is.
In fact, the entire Rs.1 crore allotted to an MLA can be released in one go if the works are completed and bills duly presented.