December 30, 2013 5:59:11 am
Although the Urban Development Ministry turned down the Delhi governments request for a modest flat to be alloted to Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal in Lutyens Delhi,saying the houses there were meant for central government ministers and officials,the Centre has earlier made exceptions to the rule.
Virbhadra Singh took over as the Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh more than a year ago,but that did not deter the government from allowing him to retain a sprawling bungalow in Lutyens Delhi. Last week,the Cabinet Committee on Accommodation (CCA) cleared allotment of a Type VII bungalow to Singh,pulling it out from the states quota,which is meant for the state government employees who work in Delhi.
The CCAs approval for the 1,Jantar Mantar bungalow was required as it is beyond the purview of the Directorate of Estates under the Urban Development Ministry to allot a Type VII bungalow to somebody who is neither a central minister nor a bureaucrat.
Singh was first allotted the house in 2009 when he became the Union Steel Minister and later when he got the portfolio for Micro,Small and Medium Enterprises.
Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan also continues to occupy a Type VIII bungalow on 11,Race Course Road even after he ceased to be the Parliamentary Affairs Minister in 2010. The allotment for his house was also cleared by the CCA.
The CCA comprises Urban Development Minister Kamal Nath,Urban Housing and Poverty Alleviation Minister Girija Vyas,Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Kumari Selja and Defence Minister A K Antony.
Since they are chief ministers of other states they are not entitled to occupy any house here in Delhi. They can only do so if there have a special permission or the CCA clears the allotment. As we are always short of such bungalows we allot from the state governments quota. Every state has an earmarked pool of six houses in Lutyens Delhi four big houses and two small ones meant for state government employees, said a senior ministry official.
It is not only the politicians but senior bureaucrats as well who continue to occupy houses in Delhi although they have been transferred to other states. Goa Governor B V Wanchoo was appointed Governor in May 2012 and was allotted a house on Shahjahan Road a month later. He continues to occupy the house.
According to the ministry,Arun Kumar,OSD to Deputy Chief Minister Punjab,occupies a Type V flat on Pandara Road; Adviser to Karnataka government Brahm Dutt also has a house on Pandara Road; Chattar Singh,additional principal secretary to Haryana Chief Minister,also has a type VI A flat alloted to him on Shahjahan Road.
The CCA also gave a nod to formally allot the 6,Krishna Menon Marg bungalow to a trust in the name of Jagjivan Ram,father of Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar. Senior officials said after Jagjivans Ram death,his wife Indrani Devi lived in the house,which has now been turned into a memorial.
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