MP demands share of budget

[TamilNet, Sunday, 13 September 1998, 16:35 GMT]
Dr.M. Illiyas, MP of the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) and several of his supporters began a protest fast today in Puttalam 142 kilometers north of Colombo demanding that the leader of the EPDP, Douglas Devananda, should release funds due to him from the decentralised budget for Jaffna.

Dr.Illiyas's action is the culmination of an extended tussle with the EPDP leader which began following the government's decision to allocate funds under the decentralised budget commonly to the group of MPs of a district rather than to each member of Parliament as it was the practice until last year.

Formerly, MPs spent the money according to the perceived priorities of their electorates in consultation with the GA and other relevant government officials of their districts.

A well and prudently spent decentralised budget is seen as an effective means of enhancing an MP's popularity and prestige in his electorate.

Forty million SL rupees were allocated to Jaffna for 1998 under the new system of distributing the decentralised budget.

The projects for spending this money were decided upon by Douglas Devananda in his capacity as the Parliamentary leader of the majority group of Jaffna MPs in consultation with the GA and other officials.

Dr.M Illiyas and the Rameswaran - Ramamoorthy brothers, the renegade EPDP MPs who now operate independently, have strongly objected to this.

On Aug. 27 the three MPs staged a sit in - protest fast in the Parliament compound demanding thier due share of the decentralised budget for Jaffna.

On September 10, the SLMC gave notice for an adourment motion on the matter on behalf of Dr.Illiyas.

The government prevailed on the SLMC to hold back the motion, promising that it would amicably settle the dispute.

A source close to Dr.Illiyas said that he was compelled to begin the protest fast since there was no indication until this morning that Douglas Devananda would compromise on the question of the decentralised budget for Jaffna.

 

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