Kochi, Apr 19: Prime Minister Narendra Modi's "unique and transformative" model village scheme is facing tough resistance from a section of MPs who feel that there are "lacunae" in the programme which insist on them using the Rs 5 crore MPLADS fund for development of a particular village.
Ahead of the second half of the budget session, senior Congress MP and Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament K V Thomas said MPs cutting across party lines will meet the Prime Minister, demanding enhancement of the MPLADS fund from Rs five crore to Rs 50 crore for implementation of the Saansad Adarsh Gram Yojana.
"Our demand is either enhance the MPLADS fund...instead of Rs five crore make it Rs 50 crore, or give special assistance to the projects in the model villages. But our demand will be minimum Rs 50 crore," the veteran parliamentarian told PTI.
He said already a memorandum signed by more than 100 MPs, including members from BJP had already been submitted to the PM by Lok Sabha Deputy Speaker M Thambidurai proposing this demand and opinion of the members on the model village scheme.
Thomas said at present the "lacuna" in the Prime Minister's scheme is that there is no special assistance for the model villages from the Government of India.
"What Government of India says is you coordinate all the state government and central government projects in these model villages and develop the village and use the Rs five crore which is given as MPLADS fund. This is not practical. MPLADS funds have to be used in all parts of the parliament constituencies...not in a particular village," he said.
Thomas said he would discuss the issue with Thambidurai before MPs seeking appointment with Modi to press for the demand.
Narrating his experience as MP since 1984, Thomas said he has already developed three villages -- Kumbalangi, Kumbalam and Chellanamin -- in his Ernakulam constituency and based on this experience he would prepare a plan for a model village to the Prime Minister.
"With my experience, I propose to give him a real picture about what should be a model village," Thomas said.
From 1984 onwards when Thomas become the MP from Ernakulam, Kumbalangi became the first model coir village and then the model fishermen village. In 2001, when he became Tourism minister, Kumbalangi was declared the first tourism village in the country.
"Sanitation, good drinking water, promotion of local cuisine and home stays were the salient programmes in these projects. This project was inaugurated in 2002.
"Similarly, Kumbalam and Chellanam were also developed as model villages giving thrust to kitchen gardens and sanitation and waste management," he said.
According to the Prime Minister's ambitious model village scheme, the MP will identify one Gram Panchayat to be taken up immediately, and two others to be taken up a little later.
A Lok Sabha MP has to choose a Gram Panchayat from within his/her constituency and Rajya Sabha MP a Gram Panchayat from the rural area of a district of his/her choice in the state from which he/she is elected.
Nominated MPs may choose a Gram Panchayat from the rural area of any district in the country. In the case of urban constituencies (where there are no Gram Panchayats), the MP will identify a Gram Panchayat from a nearby rural constituency.
Primarily, the goal is to develop three Adarsh Grams by March 2019, of which one would be achieved by 2016. Thereafter, five such Adarsh Grams (one per year) will be selected and developed by 2024.