Print Edition - 2017-01-02 | MONEY
MPs spending funds for unproductive purpose
Jan 2, 2017-Most of the lawmakers in the country’s eastern region have proposed to spend grants under the Constituency Development Programme to build temples and pilgrims’ rest house or support local clubs, substantiating fears that funds allocated through the programme would be used in unproductive areas.
Lawmaker Rishikesh Pokhrel of Morang-1, for instance, has allocated Rs250,000 to build a temple in Bardanga, another Rs250,000 to donate to Brahmakumari Rajyog, a religious movement, Rs300,000 for Triveni Youth Club, and another Rs300,000 for renovation of Singari Temple at Jhurkiya-9.
Chandi Rai, a lawmaker from Morang-2, and Amrit Aryal, a lawmaker from Morang-5, have also proposed to use funds made available through Constituency Development Programme for construction or renovation of nine and 13 temples, respectively. This is the same in Siraha, where different lawmakers have allocated Rs4.3 million to build or renovate temples in different locations. Districts such as Udaypur and others in the east are witnessing similar trend.
The government from this fiscal year started extending Rs5 million to each of around 600 lawmakers under the Constituency Development Programme to enable them to support development works in their electoral constituencies.
The amount was raised to Rs5 million per year from this fiscal year from Rs2 million in the past, despite warnings from different sectors that these spending would have little developmental impact, as a big chunk of these funds are used to build small projects or secure vote banks.
Most of the lawmakers, this year too, have proposed to use the money to build or renovate temples, conduct training, construct community buildings, purchase goods for various projects and build small segments of roads, said the Morang District Development Committee.
Nepali Congress lawmaker Sujata Koirala, for instance, has allocated Rs1.9 million to build three buildings in memory of her late father, former prime minister Girija Prasad Koirala.
Lawmaker Rajya Laxmi Golchha, on the other hand, has allocated Rs2 million to support mobile computer training programme operated by Kritika Education and Health Foundation. Golchha is also the promoter of the foundation which is receiving the money.
The projects for the Constituency Development Programme are selected by a committee comprising lawmaker selected through proportional representation system, local development officer, chief engineer of district technical office, chief of roads office and chief executive of the municipality.
But since the committee is headed by the lawmaker of the respective electoral constituency who won a seat in Parliament through direct election, the parliamentarian, it is said, often has a greater say in how the funds should be used.
(With inputs from Lila Ballav Ghimire in Biratnagar, Bharat Jargha Magar in Siraha and Dilliram Khatiwada in Udaypur)
Published: 02-01-2017 09:47