"Do not scrap MPLADS"

Neena Vyas

NEW DELHI : Party leaders at the meeting convened by Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjeehere on Thursday by and large felt that some corrections were necessary to the Member of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme (MPLADS), but the scheme itself should not be scrapped, as suggested by some.

It is learnt that some MPs wanted the guidelines changed to enable them to place part of their constituency fund with the Prime Minister's Relief Fund and then recommend funds be given from this to patients from their constituencies who may need urgent medical treatment that they cannot afford.

It was pointed out that almost all MPs are faced with this problem and their constituents expect them to find funds to meet their medical expenses.

Leaders from the Communist Party of India (Marxist), the Rashtriya Janata Dal and the Telugu Desam Party were among those who opposed the continuing of MPLADS. Basudev Acharya (CPI-M) wanted stringent guidelines if the scheme were to continue; D.P. Yadav (RJD) said the scheme was "unconstitutional," while K. Yerrannaidu (TDP) later said that his party president was against MPLADS.

Schemes skewed

V.K. Malhotra (BJP) said MLAs in Delhi got Rs. 2 crore a year as constituency fund and there were 10 MLAs in his Lok Sabha constituency. In other words, the schemes were skewed, with MLAs more able to get development work done in the constituencies than the MPs. His argument seemed to go counter to BJP president L.K. Advani's call for scrapping MPLADS.

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