June 12, 2009 1:16:48 am
Economy,terror and the Womens Bill aside,the most talked-about topic in the power corridors of the newly-elected government is housing and accommodation.
With over 364 newly-elected parliamentarians in the fifteenth Lok Sabha,the MP Housing Department at Parliament Estate is finding it difficult to arrange homes for the new members in the lush green environs of Lutyens Delhi. The Department is yet to take a decision on allocating the most sought-after addresses in the Capital.
Tourism Minister and West Bengal MP Sultan Ahmed is camping in the comforts of the government-owned Hotel Samrat. Most MPs have found shelter in their respective state bhawans or with friends who already have homes in the Capitals power zone. Hotel Samrat,it is learnt,is at present playing host to over 60 MPs amid tight security.
While the department has received around 300 applications for accommodation since May 18,officials said the 12-member housing committee was formed only on Thursday. The committee will be headed by the Rajya Sabha Housing committee chairman and Northeast Delhi MP J P Aggarwal. Incidentally,he lives at 1,Shahjahan Road.
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We have to look at the options available and then ensure that all MPs who lost elections vacate the houses, said an officer in the department,adding the first meeting of the committee will be held on June 22.
According to the official,314 ex-MPs have already been sent notices to vacate their homes,of which about 25 have asked for extension on grounds of illness and security.
The committee will look into these requests in its first meeting, said the official.
Apart from the requests,the committee will also look at accommodating MPs in their areas of preference. While MP bungalows are mainly in areas like South Avenue,North Avenue,Ferozeshah Road,Shahjahan Road and Mahadev Road,officials said South and North Avenues are the least preferred.
Every one is scrambling for Ferozeshah Road,Mahadev Road and Shahjahan Road as they are centrally located, the official said.
The commitee,however,will prioritise according to seniority. Seniors,who have been elected at least four to five times get to stay in the most-preferred localities.
MPs elected the second time will continue to keep their present homes,officials said.
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