Ministers pack bags, look for new abode

Ministers pack bags, look for new abode

Ministers pack bags, look for new abode

With the election to the 16th Lok Sabha reaching the final stages, several Union Ministers have now started the process of vacating their official bungalows in Lutyen’s zone of Delhi.

The Directorate of Estates of the Ministry of Urban Development has already received letters from around 20 ministers intimating their plan to vacate official residences. The list of those who have sent their communication expressing willingness to vacate official residences also includes some ministers who are not contesting the polls.

Speaker Meira Kumar, who is staying in 20, Akbar Road — a designated bungalow of the Speaker of Lok Sabha, also started packing her bags. Some Union Ministers who are not contesting polls, such as A K Antony and Manish Tewari are said to be planning to vacate their bungalows, while others like Sriprakash Jaiswal, Pallam Raju, Dinshah Patel, Girija Vyas are said to be looking for smaller accommodation.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who is preparing to vacate his official residence at 7 Race Course Road, is likely to shift to a sprawling bungalow on Motilal Nehru Road even before the Lok Sabha results are out on May 16.

The Central Public Works Department (CPWD) is carrying out the renovation of the bungalow at 3 Motilal Nehru Road, which was vacated by former Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit in February. With the allotment of a Lutyen’s bungalow, Singh and his wife would be entitled to occupy the house for their lifetime.

Prime Ministers are expected to vacate their residence the day they step down, since their designated bungalow, 7 Race Course Road, houses their office too.

Though Union Ministers too have a month to vacate their bungalows, many are willing to do so earlier so that the CPWD can refurbish them for new occupants. Members of Parliament usually also get a month to vacate their official bungalows but can stay on — subject to a cabinet committee clearance every six months — by paying the market rent. For MPs, houses are allotted by the Parliamentary Housing Committee while for ministers, the Directorate of Estates takes a call. 

With the norms saying that three-time MPs are entitled to type V or VII bungalows, some who are re-elected can retain their current residences despite losing ministership, subjected to approval by the Urban Development Ministry.