In the past three years, the Central Public Works Department (CPWD) has spent about R100 crore on the upkeep and maintenance of 77 bungalows occupied by central ministers in the Capital’s plush Lutyens Bungalow Zone (LBZ).
What the government spent for beautifying the lawns, giving a fresh coat of paint, installing an AC or upgrading the furnishings of our ministers’ bungalows is roughly the price of about 80 medium sized three bedroom flats in Delhi’s middle class localities of Dwarka and Mayur Vihar.
In 2012-13, the CPWD spent a total of Rs. 35.63 crore on overall maintenance of bungalows occupied by 77 central ministers.
Besides the ministers’ houses there are another 223 bungalows in LBZ occupied by judges of Supreme Court and high court, top army brass, commission chairman, cabinet secretary, and top law and policy makers. Repair and upgradation of these bungalows cost CPWD another Rs. 27 crore in 2012-13.
In all, the CPWD spent Rs. 62.63 crore on the facelift of 300 LBZ bungalows last year.
Over the annual maintenance that is undertaken by CPWD, central ministers get between R1.5 lakh to R2 lakh for renovation once they are allotted a new bungalow. “It’s a one time entitlement that an MP who is appointed as a minister and is allotted a new bungalow gets,” said an official.
“One of the reasons for the high maintenance cost is that these bungalows are very old. But many a times there are also specific demands such as some special kind of tiles or furnishings and upholstery that adds to the cost,” an urban development ministry official said on conditions of anonymity.