The government on Monday said while serving eviction notices to MPs – past and present – to vacate government accommodation was “a painful duty”, it has to be done as a large number of MPs are without their entitled houses causing expenditure to the exchequer towards alternative arrangements, like rooms at the Ashoka Hotel.
Trinamool Congress MP Saugata Roy, who is also a former MoS for Urban Development, raised this issue after getting an eviction notice to vacate his house meant for a minister. His contention was that proper rules were not being followed. Urban Development and Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu intervened saying there was no “personal vendetta” in serving eviction notices.
“In his (Urban Development Minister Venkaiah Naidu’s) hurry to act as a disciplinarian, he should not act against MPs. We are not beggars,” Roy had said. He is now entitled for a smaller accommodation given to an MP. He raised this issue during a debate on Public Premises (Eviction of Unauthorised Occupants) Amendment Bill, 2014, which the House passed.
Naidu said that after he assumed charge as Urban Development Minister, “I told the department that the accommodation should be decided on the basis of merit. There are separate categories of houses for Ministers and members.”
“I personally never felt happy evicting but I cannot go by personal likings. Some ministers are not getting the accommodation they are entitled to and they are staying in guest houses and Ashoka Hotel. The government has to bear the cost. There is no animosity or personal vendetta involved in eviction, but I have to do this painful duty,” he said. He also noted that the Cabinet has decided that no government bungalow can be converted into a memorial.