An annoyed Jharkhand Assembly Speaker C. P. Singh on Tuesday expressed unhappiness that the government was not releasing MLAs’ local area funds despite an earlier direction and said he would ascertain from the rule book if the funds could be scrapped.
Speaking on the Speaker’s direction on August 6 that the funds be released within a month, Chief Minister Arjun Munda told the House that relaxation in releasing the funds could lead to financial irregularities, while his deputy Hemant Soren said that the problem existed two years ago also.
The speaker said: “Don’t feel happy in protecting officials. They will ignore you once you are not there.”
Mr. Munda then assured the House that a permanent solution to the issue would be looked into.
Leader of the Opposition R. P. Singh suggested that the Rs. 3 crore MLAs’ local area funds be scraped if the Speaker’s directions were not adhered to by the government.
“I will see the rule book and inform you whether there is any provision to bring a resolution to scrap it,” the Speaker said.
The issue cropped up after senior BJP MLA Raghuvar Das drew the Chair’s attention to the flouting of his direction and alleged that officials were releasing funds to selected districts while ignoring the rest.
Later speaking to reporters, the Leader of the Opposition and senior Congress MLA Sarfaraz Ahmed said if a resolution to scrap the funds was passed by the House then it would be an embarrassment to the government.
“The Speaker said he will consult the rule book. If there is one and brought in the House for adoption then you know what will happen to the government?” Mr. Singh said.
RJD MLA Annapurna Devi said when people were not getting development programmes under the MLA funds, it should be stopped. PTI