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Thursday, June 30, 2022

Govt. ‘regularises’ continued occupation of bungalows in some cases, says Minister – Mrit News

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Housing and Urban Affairs Minister says exceptions may be made for those who get ‘another job’

Housing and Urban Affairs Minister says exceptions may be made for those who get ‘another job’

Union Housing and Urban Affairs Minister Hardeep Puri on Thursday said that in some cases, the government “regularises” the continued occupation of bungalows by those who get “another job”, when asked why former Congress Rajya Sabha MP Ghulam Nabi Azad had retained his official accommodation.

Mr. Puri, however, did not comment on any individual case. Mr. Azad, who was the Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha till his retirement in February 2021, has continued to occupy the 5, South Avenue Lane house allotted to him while he was a Member of Parliament.

Asked during a press conference why Mr. Azad had retained the bungalow, Mr. Puri said, “There are some others also. Slowly, they are going. We also regularise.” He said if someone was staying in a bungalow, “and then gets another, so we regularise it. But I don’t think I should comment on individual cases.”

Mr. Azad’s name did not figure on the recent list of Congress candidates for the upcoming Rajya Sabha elections. He has been among the “Group of 23” or “G-23” ginger group of Congress leaders who have demanded reforms within the party.

Over the past two to three months, the Directorate of Estates under the Ministry has undertaken a spree of evictions. The family of late Union Minister Ram Vilas Paswan, former Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank, and several other former Ministers and MPs have been evicted.

Meanwhile, asked about the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) continuing to occupy bungalows on Ashoka Road after constructing its own headquarters on Deen Dayal Upadhaya Marg, Mr. Puri indicated that the BJP’s and other parties’ offices would move out of bungalows.

“Of all the tasks I perform, getting individual evictions is not an easy thing and I’m very happy that at least when there is flak, people are not saying we are targeting only one, including BJP. We treat everyone exactly the same,” he said.

He said that some parties that had been allotted land to build their offices had asked for more time, in view of the last two years of the pandemic.

“It [evictions of political parties] is in process. It will involve all political parties. It’s in pipeline,” Mr. Puri said.

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