Falling short of political will

Telangana is among the leading States in the country that strengthen local governments by providing sufficient funds to the assembly and council constituencies.

The Constituency Development Scheme (CDS) fund for MLAs/MLCs till 2015-16, raised from ₹1.5 crore to ₹3 crore a year, was a step in that direction. “The goal is to develop rural and urban pockets in an integrated way. Full discretion of local leaders for fund use will achieve this,” Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao had said in 2016.

But a physical and financial progress report of MLAs/MLCs CDS in Nalgonda, Suryapet and Yadadri-Bhuvanagiri show the opposite. Twelve MLAs and three MLCs in the districts were sanctioned ₹2.25 crore at ₹75 lakh a trimester till January 2018.

But latest data available with Chief Planning Office (CPO) shows three MLAs, G. Sunitha Reddy (Alair), G. Jagadish Reddy (Suryapet) and N. Bhaskar Rao (Miryalaguda), are yet to expend a rupee from it, despite several problems plaguing their respective constituencies. Of the 1, 003 sanctioned works in a year, only 308 were completed across all 15 assembly and council constituencies.

Just three leaders, Nalgonda MLA Komatireddy Venkat Reddy (73%), Munugode MLA K. Prabhakar Reddy (51%) and MLC Pula Ravinder (45%), have a work completion status above 40% and expended at least half of the funds.

With a month for the financial year to end, CPO sources say unutilised funds would go back to the Planning Department.

But the perplexing question is, are there no issues to be addressed on ground? Latest figures with the Department of Education alone, in the districts, show nearly 1,150 schools without toilet facility and another 771 schools without any drinking water arrangement.

Other list of issues calling attention also include road repairs, lighting of streets, repairs in public parks, amenities in graveyards and support services for the old and persons with special needs.

One of the leaders, however, said there are several “operational reasons” obstructing CDS use, like exercising caution that funds are utilised only for beneficiaries and not contractors, and being aware of political and caste tensions in villages “over facilities”, he said.

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Printable version | Jul 7, 2022 4:06:20 pm |