MLAs Raise Demand For Increase In LAD Fund In Odisha Assembly

Bhubaneswar: Legislators, cutting across party lines, demanded increase in MLA Local Area Development (MLALAD) fund in Odisha Assembly on Thursday.

Raising the issue in the House, BJD MLA of Bhadrak Sanjeeb Mallick said the present amount of Rs 3 crore was not enough for development works in the constituency. While the government has taken up beautification and upgradation of major temples in the state, people demand similar facilities in smaller temples for which the MLAs do not have adequate fund.

At present, the LAD fund comprises Rs 2 crore for general purposes, Rs 50,000 for higher education and Rs 50,000 for construction of roads and buildings. Mallick demanded the fund for general purposes to be raised to Rs 3 crore. He was supported by BJD MLA Latika Pradhan.

During the Question Hour of the Assembly, Opposition chief whip Mohan Majhi and BJP legislator Bhaskar Madhei raised the issue. Majhi demanded the MLA-LAD fund to be increased to Rs 10 crore. Like other states, which have hiked the fund to Rs 5 crore and above, Odisha should also increase the fund, he said.

The MLALAD fund limit is Rs 5 crore in Telangana, Rs 4 crore in Chhattisgarh, Rs 4 crore in Jharkhand and Rs 5 crore each in Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh.

Senior Congress leader and Kantabanji MLA Santosh Singh Saluja said the general fund should be hiked to Rs 3 crore and spent as per the recommendation of legislators.

In his response, Planning and Coordination Minister Rajendra Dholakia said there was no plan at present to increase the LAD fund and it may be discussed at appropriate time. The LAD fund limit was hiked from Rs 1 crore to Rs 3 crore in 2020-21.

Speaker Bikram Keshari Arukha directed the Planning and Coordination Minister to discuss with officials about the proposal of the MLAs. The House must be intimated on how to implement it, he added.

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