We have had headlines of several newspapers screaming that 16 former UPA ministers overstaying in government bungalows in New Delhi have been served eviction notices. They owe a total of Rs 21 lakh approximately for one month's unauthorized stay.
Another 21 former ministers are staying in general pool bungalows in New Delhi and they have been given 15 days by the administration to move into their entitled accommodation to be provided by respective House Committees.
The names in this list of 37 gentlemen is like a who is who of previous government.
All tricks are resorted to for such overstays- from feigning sickness of self / spouse to issues of cultural heritage and what not!
The moment a bungalow is allotted, government funds are used to pamper one’s wishes. How is it that a new comer invariably finds the previous occupant’s taste not acceptable? Is it not because they don’t have to pay for any modification or renovation?
Example of Mr Lal Bahadur Shastri
During Mr Shastri's tenure his home in Janpath was upgraded to suit the status of a Prime Minister. After his death, a renowned politician went to see Mr Shastri's home. The remark was- "middle class!"
Our leaders have simply forgotten austerity. One is free not to practise austerity, but then one should not waste taxpayer’s money.
We have had leaders staying in five star comforts at New Delhi for months- ostensibly because their allotted bungalow was being readied. Who ultimately paid for such stays has again been mired in controversy.
Again I refer to example of Mr Lal Bahadur Shastri.
In 1963 Mr Shastri was dropped from the Ministry under the Kamaraj plan. Some people found him sitting in his home without a light. Upon being asked the reason for sitting in dark, he said, "From today all expenses will be borne by me."
Contrast this with a recent case where upon decision taken by the Cabinet Committee on accommodation (CCA), a market rent of around Rs 10 lakh has been waived for Mr Buta Singh who had been overstaying for years in a Government bungalow. He will now have to pay a 'special rent ' of Rs. 13000 only.
Eviction notices are routinely sent in such cases. Legal proceedings may also be resorted to. The taxpayer’s should demand much more.
Should not such defaulters lose their pension? Or should they lose their right to contest next elections?