New Delhi, May 27 (PTI) Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury on Thursday sought Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla's intervention in the release of the MPLADS funds, which has been suspended in view of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Last year, the government suspended MPLAD (Member of Parliament Local Area Development) fund scheme during 2020-21 and 2021-22, and said the funds will be used for managing health services and the adverse impact of COVID-19 pandemic in the country.
In a letter to the Speaker, he said the funds should be released and made available immediately so as to enable the people's representatives to come to the aid of their constituents in this hour of dire need.
He cited the cyclonic storm 'Yaas' due to which people of Odisha and West Bengal are suffering.
The Congress leader in Lok Sabha said the critical impact that the cyclonic storm would have on the intensity of the COVID-19 pandemic in West Bengal and Odisha in particular remains to be seen in the coming days and there is a possibility of a significant increase in COVID-19 infection rate in the region.
'This obviously calls for urgently gearing up the availability of critical healthcare equipment, including personal protective equipment kits (PPE), oxygen cylinders, ventilators, apart from smaller items such as gloves, masks, and oximeters.
'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,' he said.
Chowdhury said this is the only way by which the Members of Parliament can truly come to the aid of their constituents at this hour of extreme need.
'I would also impress upon you that is all the more essential to ensure that the funds are made available without any restrictions, so that the amounts are rightly channelled to address the healthcare needs of the people in these uncertain and extremely sad times,' he told the Speaker, adding that he expects immediate action in this regard so that the members are rightly able to be in the service of the people they represent. PTI SKC KJ