The Maharashtra Sadan accommodates 33 first-time Maharashtra MPs, 29 of the Lok Sabha and four of the Rajya Sabha, the cost borne by Parliament until they are allotted government houses. Suites are made available to MLAs at short notice, but an MP gets one only on a recommendation from Parliament, Sadan officials said. On top of that was the fact that Satyapal Singh had been given a VIP suite while they lived in general suites.
And while the Sadan’s Maharashtrian non-vegetarian thali has always remained a prime attraction for Maharashtrians in the capital, the complaint book, which many staffers agree is full, is filled with grievances about the quality of food and the service.
IRCTC had earlier appointed a Maharashtrian caterer, Laxmi Catering Service, but it ran into losses worth about “Rs 40- 50 lakh” according to a dining room official. “The new caterer, Hollywood Hospitality, did not know how to even make chapatis because they were from Delhi. One of the lady officers posted here taught them how to make chapatis. But the quality of food suffered and guests complained about Maharashtrian food here. And while we serve continental, Chinese, north Indian cuisine, people want to eat Maharashtrian food in Maharashtra Sadan,” the official said.
On July 17, when 11 Sena MPs, of whom only four actually stay at the Sadan, called Resident Commissioner Bipin Malik to put across their grievances, Malik reportedly “sent a lower ranking official” after a long 45- minute wait. The MPs then wrote “Tumcha jahir nishedh” (We openly condemn you) on a wall of his room.
The MPs had invited local Marathi reporters to expose what they claimed to “poor service on part of the management”. And in the words of a reporters whose name is mentioned in the incident report, “Malik was not seen in the office. It was Arshad (the force-fed caterer)who they caught hold of.”
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Absent today are Arshad and Suhas Mamdapurkar, who was caught on CCTV taking the MPs around showing the “filth” and was replaced overnight by Sandhya Pawar. Pawar said she “does not know the reason for Mamdapurkar’s transfer”.
The guests, meanwhile, ordered Maharashtrian thali served by Mahila Arthik Vikas Mahamandal, their new caterer. It is a government-aided group that serves Mantralaya.