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MLA funds remain unutilised, misutilised

MPUF expose shows 4 legislators from Jaintia Hills fail to utilise money for constituency development

From Staff Correspondent
Shillong, Sept 13: In a stunning revelation that exposes how some MLAs conduct their affairs, the Meghalaya People’s United Front (MPUF) has come up with an expose that unveils alleged misutilisation of funds under the Special Rural Work Programme (SRWP) of four legislators from Jaintia Hills. The SRWP is popularly known as an MLA scheme where the legislators are entitled to spend Rs 1 crore every year on development projects in their respective constituencies. It was revised in 2016 and Rs 2 crore is since being given.
Based on the findings gathered through the Right to information (RTI) Act, the MPUF members on Wednesday listed the unutilised amount of four constituencies represented by MLAs with multiple affiliations.
MPUF president D Laloo explained before the media how the funds have been either misutilised or remained unspent from the period 2014 till date.
In Raliang constituency, out of the Rs 1 crore, Rs 1,18,000 remained unutilised in 2014-15. In the year 2015-16, the unspent money amounted to Rs 17 lakh and in the following financial year, out of the Rs 2 crore earmarked, the utilisation of the entire amount is questionable, according to the MPUF. The constituency is represented by Cabinet Minister Comingone Ymbon.
In Khliehriat constituency represented by independent MLA Justine Dkhar, the MPUF functionary questioned how Rs 21 lakh for the year 2013-2014 remained unaccounted for and another Rs 17 lakh for the year 2014-2015, besides Rs 18 lakh for the year 2015-2016. 
The MPUF also released the alleged financial anomalies in the Nartaing constituency represented by the recently-sacked PWD Minister. Sniawbhalang Dhar. Based on the RTI reports, it was found that Rs 6.90 lakh meant for 2014-15 is still unaccounted. The years 2015-2016 and 2017-17 have figures of Rs 14,45,000 and Rs 5,55,000 that had vanished without proper audit or accounts.
In all these constituencies that the MPUF tried to unravel the usage of public funds, indications are that there are a lot of flaws.
“In many instances, utilisation certificate of the sanctioned and implemented schemes are not available,” the MPUF president alleged, adding, “there are instances where even the same beneficiaries feature on multiple occasions.”
“Don’t read our expose as a political game, but treat it as part of our mission to make the people aware on the need to monitor how their elected representatives spend the public money meant for their welfare,” Laloo clarified, even as he added that the MLAs would be guilty of gross misconduct if such funds meant for development of their constituencies are either misutilised or retained by them on one pretext or the other.