MPs get Tk 60b ‘election budget’

Staff Correspondent . Dhaka | Update:

The Executive Committee of National Economic Council (ECNEC) has sanctioned nearly a Tk 60 billion project for the members of parliament (MPs) to construct madrasas in their respective areas.

However, the next general elections will possibly be held by the end of this year.

Each MP will get funds to construct at least six madrasas in their constituencies. The total project will cost Tk 59.19 billion, which will totally be funded by public money.

The project will have separate funds for construction of 200 more madrasas.

A similar project was sanctioned before the 5 January 2014 general elections, which was basically an extension of a project of 2010. Each of the MPs then received Tk 200 million.

The ECNEC on Tuesday sanctioned the project named ‘Development of selected Madrasas’ at a meeting presided over by prime minister Sheikh Hasina.

As many as 1,800 madrasa buildings will be constructed across the country under the projects.

The names of the madrasas have already been finalised as per the choices of the MPs.

According to the project, if any MP wants to build any other madrasa, he/she will get money from the extra allocation.

The ECNEC sanctioned three other similar projects for the MPs in the last year. The projects were passed for constructing new schools, renovation of old school buildings, and construction of mosques and temples.

The four projects including the latest one will cost the government Tk 224.7 billion in total. Apart from that, each of the MPs received nearly Tk 30-50 million every year in the last one decade.

Asked about the matter, local government expert Tofael Ahmed said this is a violation of the election rules. Allocating money through projects ahead of elections is sheer injustice.

“Generally, the education ministry’s vocational and madrasa departments are responsible for this kind of works. But, MPs are now doing this. It’s not right,” he added.

When asked if it will have an influence on the voters as the salaries of the madrasa teachers are given by the government though Monthly-Pay-Order (MPO), planning minister AHM Mustafa Kamal said, “It will definitely affect the elections. The projects have been taken for people,”

“We have already told the secretaries that don’t let the development works be hampered during the elections,” he added.

There are 9,311 madrasas in the country, said the minister adding that only three of these madrasas are funded by the government while remaining ones are being run privately.

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