THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi, A.K. Antony, and Shashi Tharoor — all MPs from Kerala — have allocated funds from their respective MPLADS money to fight coronavirus in their constituencies.
While Gandhi sanctioned Rs 2.66 crore from his Members of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme for his Wayanad Lok Sabha constituency, Tharoor sanctioned a similar amount for Thiruvananthapuram, as did Rajya Sabha member Antony for his home district Alappuzha.
Under the MPLADS, the lawmakers can recommend the district collector on which project to spend the money on in their respective constituencies.
Very soon, it was learnt, other lawmakers from Kerala would sanction money under the scheme for fighting coronavirus raging in Kerala, with over 76,000 persons with suspected symptoms quarantined either at homes or in hospitals. As many as 118 people in Kerala have tested positive for the deadly virus.
Earlier in the day, Tharoor took to Twitter and appealed to the Prime Minister to divert the Rs 20,000 crore earmarked for new Parliament building and Central Vista to supplement the Rs 15,000 crore allotted to fight COVID-19.
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“This is merely Rs 20 crore per district. Grand spending on buildings at this time of the crisis is a postponable luxury,” tweeted Tharoor.
Tharoor, who is currently based in the national capital, also took to Facebook on the issue.
He pointed out to his fellow lawmakers about huge shortage of full-body Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) kits, N-95 masks, face shields, three-layered masks and medical goggles, infrared non-contact thermometers, and other equipment/items which will help prevent the community spread.
“To buy these, we can divert our developmental funds. Am sure many of our legislators in Kerala are doing that, and if it can be stepped up, it will be of huge benefit,” Tharoor wrote on Facebook.