With Telangana Assembly elections only a few months away, the Telangana government has announced that it will release Rs 5,000 crore from the Chief Minister's Special Development Fund (SDF) within two weeks, Deccan Chronicle (DC) has reported. The money will be used to facilitate developmental works in all assembly constituencies before the model code of conduct is imposed, officials in the Chief Minister's office were cited as saying in the report.
The Election Commission of India is expected to notify the assembly elections on October 6. As the date draws closer, several Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs), having exhausted their Constituency Development Fund (CDF), have approached the Chief Minister's office to seek funds for their constituencies under the SDF. The state government allocated a sum of Rs 10,000 crore towards this fund in the budget.
Previously, the BRS government had raised CDF for MLAs from Rs 3 crore to Rs 5 crore from financial year 2021-22, bringing it at par with the Members of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme (MPLADS), the report said.
MLAs did not receive CDF funds as the state government imposed restrictions, citing an economic slowdown in the financial year 2019-20 and Covid-19 in financial years 2020-21 and 2021-22. While the MLAs were provided with Rs 5 crore on paper, they were left with only Rs 2 crore since the state government mandated the use of Rs 3 crore on improving the infrastructure of government schools under the "Manu Ooru-Mana Badi" programme. Consequently, the government in the state is deducting Rs 3 crore directly from the CDF fund, leaving only Rs 2 crore with the MLAs to spend.
This resulted in a situation where MLAs were facing a cash crunch as several works that were launched earlier were pending due to non-payment of bills to contractors, the DC report said. Most of the villages and towns in Telangana constituencies are facing infrastructure-related issues, such as broken roads and damaged drainage systems, which have resulted in a strong demand from locals to improve the conditions.
With the elections approaching, MLAs are under pressure to complete pending projects besides meeting fresh demands from voters.