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Scrap MPs’ fund scheme

ADITI TANDON’s article, MPs’ funds used or misused (Spectrum, June 1) was exhaustive. The MPs’ Local Areas Development Scheme (MPLADS) has been mired in controversy since its inception in 1993.

In a sting operation, the media showed how some MPs received bribes for recommending certain works under the scheme. Taking care of community projects is the executive’s duty. Why should the MPs hijack this power? This is in contravention of the parliamentary system.

Figures released by the government show that several MPs have not even utilised the MPLADS funds. The principled stand of many dignitaries should be enough to scrap the controversial scheme and utilise the funds for development.

S.K. KHOSLA, Chandigarh



Critics of the MPLADS maintain that it undermines the Constitution, it has the potential to breed corruption and it upsets the level-playing field in politics. The CAG and others have highlighted certain pitfalls, like the underutilisation of funds and incomplete works in the implementation of the scheme.

It is mainly because of these that the scheme has failed to achieve its objective of fulfilling the people’s needs. But which development scheme is free from these weaknesses? That there is large-scale leakage and pilferage of funds from development schemes is an officially accepted fact.

As for the implementation, it is done at the Deputy Commissioner’s level. The MP only recommends the works. Hence, there is no constitutional violation. The black sheep are everywhere in society. Some MPs might have asked for favour for recommending certain works. But all are not alike. I have been assisting the MPLADS implementing authorities for quite some time. Therefore, I have seen the benefits of the MPLADS. It should be continued in view of its benefits to the local people.

PURAN SINGH, Nilokheri


Most MPs just announce the works more to cater to the demands of people of the area rather than addressing the real needs of the community. No doubt, CAG reports as well as the Era Sezhiyan study have expressed doubts about any beneficial effects accruing from a large number of minor projects. It is nothing but frittering away precious resources.

Though each MP gets Rs 2 crore a year under the MPLADS, the total sum spent during the tenure of all MPs comes to a whopping Rs 10,000 crore. This can be utilised in a better way by identifying priority areas like schools, hospitals and dispensaries, roads and water supply etc. The money thus spent on projects will substantially improve the quality of life of the people.

In view of the misuse of funds by the politician-bureaucrat nexus, it is better to scrap the scheme and spend the funds on some urgent projects which will benefit the maximum number of people. To make the scheme transparent, all works undertaken must be put up on notice boards at places like squares, courts, railway stations and bus stands for public scrutiny.

Brig H.S. SANDHU (retd), Panchkula

Off the mark

In his review of Tejwant Singh Gill’s Sant Singh Sekhon (Spectrum, June 1), Alok Bhalla has misrepresented Sekhon’s literary oeuvre. If Sekhon indeed did note that “it was with the establishment of Sikh kingdoms that literary writing in Punjabi acquired its special provenance” and equated Punjabi writing with Sikh tradition, it was a socio-historical fact. Whether one is a Marxist or not, it does not change the empirical reality of our socio-cultural fabric.

Sant Singh Sekhon was born in a socio-religious Sikh household but intellectually he grew as a Marxist and remained so. He perceived, analysed and articulated the pains and perseverance of the peasants and the downtrodden.

Sekhon conceptualised the historical consciousness of his times and articulated it in the three most important of his writings. The novel, Lahu Mitti, which delineates the trials and tribulations of a poor peasant of the Punjab, who labours under the harshest possible economic conditions, is by far the best Punjabi novel of the 20th century and can be compared with the greatest novels of the world.

The very first that one thinks of is The Grapes of Wrath of Steinbeck with the difference that the text of Sekhon is much more complex and existentially charged than its counterposed American narrative. Similar is the case of Baba Bohar, a long narrative poem, which is a Marxist conceptual construct of the historical progression of the Punjab of the last 300 years. The third most incisive critique of our creeds and beliefs is Pemi de Niane.


A leader who was not

In “Perspective on partition of the Punjab” (Spectrum, May 11), Kanchan Mehta writes, “The bottom line is: they unlike the Hindus or Muslims lacked a leader of considerable stature”. She has mentioned two names but inadvertently missed the name of Master Tara Singh, who dominated the Sikh (Akali) politics for over 40 years.

He was described as “Stupid and emotional” (Lord Wavell), “third grade school teacher” (Freedom at Midnight) etc. Other communities had Bar at Law educated in the UK or US as their leaders, but the Sikhs were content with this self-proclaimed ‘Panth Rattan’. His single act of political immaturity lay in his tearing of the Muslim League flag and raising “Pakistan Murdabad” slogan in Lahore in March 1947.

The very next day, Muslims started killing Sikhs in his home region of Pothohar. Any conscious community would have dislodged such a leader but he remained an undisputed leader till the early sixties and did not achieve anything for his community.

Sant Fateh Singh removed him with the active support of Partap Singh Kairon. The Master attacked the Muslim origin of the Sant, forgetting his own Hindu origin. His real name was Nanak Chand Malhotra Khatri.

He admitted in his editorial of Punjabi Jathedar paper (October 11, 1962) that: “During the year 1947, when the British rulers and Muslim League tried to win over the Sikhs for agreement between the Sikhs and the Muslim League, I was the biggest obstacle in reaching the agreement”.

These are also a few facts of history that we must not forget. We have caste, community considerations while writing history. That is bad. We lack the sense of impartial history; that is why we are the sufferers.




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