Constituency dev grants spent on many projectsParliamentarians from Baitadi have been spending the money received under the Constituency Infrastructure Development Special Programme and the Constituency Development Programme in several activities by creating a single project to get around the minimum investment regulation.
Parliamentarians from Baitadi have been spending the money received under the Constituency Infrastructure Development Special Programme and the Constituency Development Programme in several activities by creating a single project to get around the minimum investment regulation.
The directive on the operation of funds under these programmes states that they cannot be invested in projects costing less than Rs700,000 and Rs50,000 respectively.
Funds under the first programme are provided to the District Development Committee (DDC) for infrastructure development in each constituency while funds from the second programme are provided to the respective lawmaker.
However, Members of Parliament have been found to be using the funds in a number of activities by lumping them together under one project.
The usual practice has been to implement irrigation, drinking water, building construction and road projects as one project.
“The agreement has been signed in such a way that expenditure can be made in different sectors under a single heading,” said Bir Singh Mahata, planning division chief at the DDC. “This creates difficulties in monitoring.”
Despite concerns over irregularities, the government this year increased the grants to Rs30 million and Rs5 million for the first and second programmes respectively.
The Rs15 million received in the name of State Minister for Finance Domodar Bhandari when he was a lawmaker and the Rs800,000 received in the name of CPN (Maoist Centre) Lawmaker Dhana Pahari have been used to finance 15 projects.
The two grants have been allocated to one project but they have been spread over nine activities.
The resources under the Constituency Development Programme are also being distributed in a similar fashion. A Nepali Congress lawmaker has presented a programme with an additional seven plans.
Minister Bhandari has presented a programme for 12 projects under four plans. Commerce Minister Jayanta Chanda has distributed Rs1.2 million to 16 projects.
The DDC has said that a single consumer committee handling different projects at the same time has created confusion in monitoring.
DDC staffers said that monitoring has also been difficult as the budget has been scattered among several small projects.
Local party cadres have been heading the consumer committees which has resulted in the distribution of projects as desired by them. “The funds received for development activities through lawmakers have been distributed to benefit the cadres of political parties,” said Pratap Singh Mahara, a local from Kataujpani-3.