Leader of the Congress in Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury wrote to Speaker Om Birla today, seeking the release of MPLADS funds so that MPs can help people at a time when the Covid situation in West Bengal and Odisha is likely to worsen due to the impact of Cyclone Yaas.
Under the Members of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme (MPLADS), an MP can recommend development work worth Rs 5 crore annually in his/her constituency.
The government suspended the scheme last year in view of the impact of the pandemic and diverted the sum to the Consolidated Fund of India.
“While the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic has brought unimaginable miseries, the people of Odisha and West Bengal are on the verge of facing the devastating affects of the cyclonic storm, ‘Yaas’,” Mr Chowdhury wrote in his letter.
“There is a distinct possibility of a significant increase in the COVID-19 infection rate in the region in the coming days. This obviously calls for urgently gearing up the availability of critical health care equipment including PPE Kits, oxygen cylinders, ventilators etc., apart from smaller items such as gloves, masks, and oximeters,” he added.
“Considering the criticality of the situation, I would beseech upon you to take appropriate steps in having the blocked MPLADS Funds released and the Scheme made operational once again in its true spirit. This, you will appreciate, is the only way by which the Members of Parliament can truly come to the aid of their constituents in their hour of grief and extreme need,” wrote Mr Chowdhury, who heads the Congress unit in Bengal and is MP from Baharampur.
“I look upon you to take immediate action in this regard so that the Members are rightly able to be in the service of the people they represent,” he wrote.
Several districts of Bengal and Odisha have witnessed flooding and large-scale damage to property due to the cyclonic storm. The storm has struck at a time when Covid transmission risks pose a major challenge to evacuation and rehabilitation efforts.