MLAs protest non-release of development funds
Jharkhand Assembly created history on the penultimate day of the winter session, though for the wrong reasons. The Assembly had to be adjourned on Wednesday due to lack of quorum as Members of Legislative Assembly (MLA) abstained from the proceedings, protesting non-release of development funds.
MLAs’ development fund, meant for carrying out minor public work projects in their constituency, has not been released for 2011-2012. Speaker C P Singh was shocked to find only eight of the 82 MLAs present in the House. He was left with no option but to adjourn the House. According to the Constitution, Assembly proceedings can be carried out only when 1/10th of the members are present. This is the first time that a state assembly has been adjourned due to lack of quorum.
The ruling alliance of the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) and the Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) has faced protests earlier, too. On August 6, during the monsoon session, Raghubar Das, a senior BJP MLA from Jamshedpur, had raised the issue. Chief Minister Arjun Munda, in a statement to the Speaker, had said that the funds were not released because severe corruption exists in the system.
Not satisfied by the chief minister’s response, the Speaker retorted saying a wrong precedence was being set regarding release of development funds of MLAs. “Bureaucrats are being sent a wrong message by stopping the development funds. Such precedence will also affect you when your party is not in power,” he said.
On Wednesday, the chief minister succumbed to pressure and assured the House that funds will be released in 10 to 15 days.
Earlier, Raghubar Das had also alleged that development funds were released to select legislators of the state. “To some, it was given as rewards,” he had said.
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