Rs 100 crore for renovating bungalows

Rs 100 crore for renovating bungalows

MPs Accommodation: Austerity does not figure here

In reply to an RTI query filed by a resident of Mumbai, Chetan Kothari, it was revealed by the government that in the last five years an expenditure of Rs 93.53 crore had been incurred towards the upkeep of bungalows let out to Members of Parliament and ministers.

“An amount of Rs 93.50 crore has been spent towards upgradation, ordinary repair and superior repair of these bungalows by the office of the CPWD responsible for the upkeeping of MP bungalows,” said the reply by the Deputy Director, Department of Estates under the Urban Development Ministry, J P Rath. “MPs are provided free accommodation throughout the term of office. However, a normal licence fee of Rs 105 is charged on a bungalow,” it said.

“Visit these bungalows, and you will see construction work every now and then. They have engineered wood flooring, wall panelling and veneering, gypsum board and false ceiling, glazed shutters for doors, windows and glazed partitions, polished porcelain tiles in toilet and wall. All expensive ones,” Kothari said.

Some of the occupants of the bungalows include Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee in Talkatora Road, Agriculture and Consumer Affairs Minister Sharad Pawar at Janpath, Defence Minister A K Antony at K M Marg, Home Minister P Chidambaram at Safdarjung Road and Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee at B K S Marg.

A total of 77 bungalows have been allotted to different ministers here. According to the reply, nearly Rs 11 crore was spent towards upkeeping these bungalows in 2004-2005; Rs 9 crore the next year followed by an expenditure of Rs 20 crore in 2006-2007 and Rs 33 crore in 2007-2008. “They have spent Rs 21 crore alone till June 2009 on the maintenance of these bungalows,” Kothari said.

A daunting task for government

New Delhi, Sep 21, PTI:

Housing the new MPs has become a daunting task for the government with many former lawmakers refusing to vacate bungalows and several newly elected representatives unwilling to accept the offered accommodation.

At least 100 new Lok Sabha members have asked for a change of the type of house allotted to them, while 36 others are awaiting the present occupants, former MPs, to move out.

A senior Lok Sabha housing committee official, however, said: “The allotment has been made to all MPs as per the criteria. But, many have refused to accept the allotted house as they want bigger one.

According to the official, Patna MP Shatrughan Sinha was offered a type VII bungalow as a former minister and first-time Lok Sabha MP. But he wanted a type VIII bungalow. Similarly, Navjot Singh Siddhu and Anurag Thakur, both BJP MPs, were offered houses as per their entitlement. But they did not accept the allotment seeking bigger accommodation.

Recently, BJP Rajya Sabha member Nand Kumar Sai was evicted from his South Avenue residence here on the ground that he was no longer a Lok Sabha member. RPI leader Ramdas Athawale was also forced to leave 8 Lodhi Estate, the residence he was allotted as a Member of Parliament, after he lost the Lok Sabha polls.

“We have issued notices to the ex-MPs to vacate government accommodation. While some have vacated, 36 ex-MPs are yet to vacate,” said a senior Directorate of Estates official. The official said a significant number of the staff was now busy on a daily basis to free the houses from illegal occupation.

“Even our staff was abused and assaulted by illegal occupants at Meena Bagh and VP House areas recently, and we had to take police help for evicting them,” he said adding: “Some of these houses occupied illegally are being used for commercial purposes also.”