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Minister bungalows to be scaled down

The Delhi government’s plans to build plush houses for its ministers seem to have hit a speed breaker: the plan is on but the scale would be muted now.

Written by Sobhana K | New Delhi |
February 5, 2009 12:22:58 am

Urban art commission says houses planned on ‘too big’ a scale,plan sent back to PWD drawing board

The Delhi government’s plans to build plush houses for its ministers seem to have hit a speed breaker: the plan is on but the scale would be muted now.

The Delhi Urban Art Commission (DUAC) has rejected the initial drawings of the bungalows,calling them “disproportionately large”.

Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit,too,has expressed doubts about the designs — she is learnt to have told the Public Works Department (PWD) to keep the plans within the budget. Her Cabinet had sanctioned bungalows for the new ministers in its very first meeting.

The urban art panel told PWD to reduce space allotted in the design of two bungalows slotted to be built on Attatur Rehman Lane,officials said. Four other ministerial bungalows are meant to be constructed on Raj Niwas Marg.

The PWD was also asked to rework the entire plan in the January 21 meeting,a DUAC member said.

DUAC is responsible for preserving,developing and maintaining aesthetic quality of buildings in the national capital.

“We wanted to know whether space allocated for the bungalows is in accordance with norms set by the government,” the DUAC member said. “But since PWD could not reply to this,we asked them to rework the plans and inform us at the earliest.”

The member said that the original plan puts the helps’ quarters in such a way that they block the bungalows’ view. “The plans were very shabby and need to be reworked,” the member said.

Big houses
But even as per the new designs,still being finalised by PWD architects,the houses would be pretty big: they are now being built as per Type-VIII CPWD bungalows. The total area,after being reduced,stands at 852.43 square metres — roughly 10 times a DDA-built MIG flat. As per the new plans,each bungalow will have six domestic helps’ quarters,and the office space would be 93 square metres.

The bungalows will have four garages each.

DUAC has also rejected PWD’s proposal to use fibreglass,citing quality. The site on which the bungalows are proposed on Attatur-Rehman Lane — 7,500 square metres — is heavily wooded,and DUAC has suggested that minimum trees be felled.

The site now houses a bungalow previously occupied by the director of horticulture department; it is in a derelict state. The rest of the land was encroached by an unauthorised slum cluster,which was recently removed.

The site was earlier earmarked for Type-V quarters but it was decided to build ministerial bungalows on the site due to urgency of the project and also because of the area’s proximity to the upmarket Civil Lines,officials said.

The site for four other bungalows — Raj Niwas Marg — was also heavily encroached upon when the previous owner had filed a petition. The PWD took over the 16,000-square metre land in May 2000 and cleared the encroachments.

At present only Delhi’s Food and Supplies minister Haroon Yusuf and Transport minister Arvinder Singh Lovely live in bungalows allotted by the Delhi government.

Home for new ministers
* Being built as per type-VIII CPWD bungalows — the “biggest and best” of the lot
* Total area,after being reduced,stands at 852.43 square metres — roughly 10 times a DDA-built MIG flat
* Each bungalow to have 6 domestic helps’ quarters
* Office space would be 93 square metres
* Each bungalow to have four garages

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