NEW DELHI: Minister of State for Finance S S Palanimanickam’s reluctance to move out of his official current residence here -- Bungalow No. 7 in B.D.Marg -- to a new address at Lodhi Estate, has created a pique situation for ‘homeless’ parliamentarians in the power capital.
It has virtually derailed the construction of a much-awaited multi-storeyed housing project, meant for the Lok Sabha MPs.
Exasperated over the delay that Palanimanickam’s intransigence has caused, the House Committee of Lok Sabha has shot off a two-page letter to Urban Development Minister Kamal Nath, with a copy marked to the Principal Secretary, PMO, Pulok Chatterjee; just to get the MoS move out of the B.D. Marg property.
Interestingly, the House Committee is headed by Jai Prakash Agarwal, a Congress MP.
In the letter, dated April 2, 2012, a copy of which is with Express, Prakash reminds Kamal Nath that Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar had made a categorical appeal that the project be completed before time so that the extreme shortage of accommodation for the MPs of the Lower House could be overcome faster.
“The period of construction of the project is 16 months. However, during the foundation stone laying ceremony it was desired by the Speaker, that keeping in view the paucity of accommodation for the Hon Lok Sabha MPs, the project needs to be completed well before the target date,” Agarwal wrote in his letter.
He squarely puts the blame at Palanimanickam’s doorstep.
“The target date could not be achieved due to constraints, caused by not vacating Bungalow No. 7 B.D. Marg, New Delhi, by Minister of State for Finance S S Palanimanickam.”
The House Committee Chairman complains that the MoS has refused to move to the alternative accommodation provided to him at 47, Lodhi Estate, despite the fact that it was spruced up by the CPWD for his benefit.
“I have been informed by the CWPD that the renovation work has been completed and habitability certificate (a copy is enclosed with the letter) given in the month of July, 2011,” Agarwal stated.
Sources close to Palanimacikam, however, played down the issue indicating that the MoS may vacate the property in a month’s time.