The Uttarakhand high court on Monday asked the state government to list the expenses incurred by the state exchequer to maintain bungalows for former chief ministers even as one of them, B S Koshyari vacated his allotted residence.
The court’s ruling came on a petition by city-based NGO, Rural Litigation and Entitlement Kendra (RLEK) which had in 2010 sought removal of the former CMs from government bungalows.
Noting that the state had spent more than Rs 3 crore on the six former chief ministers of the state in the last 15 years, RLEK chairman Avdhash Kaushal Kaushal said, “We are in no mood to let ex-CMs enjoy facilities on the money of the exchequer.”
The NGO’s counsel, Kartikeya Gupta said the rent accrued from the former heads of state was not enough, and “therefore, we requested the court to order the concerned department to recover all the money that was spent on maintaining the bungalows”.
The court had last month asked the former CMs to vacate bungalows by December 16, 2016 and directed the estates department to calculate the market rent of the accommodations and recover the same from the former state chiefs.
The estates department on Monday sought more time from the division bench of chief justice K M Joseph and justice Alok Singh.
BJP’s Koshyari, who was the second CM of the state, vacated his palatial bungalow in posh Kalidas Marg area of the capital. The bungalow belonged to the UP Irrigation department before the Uttarakhand’s formation in 2000.
Koshyari, who had a short tenure of four months, was not available for comments.
RLEK’s Kaushal said his NGO had, through RTI, collected information about the expenses incurred on former CMs.
According to RLEK’s estimates, Rs 48 lakh was spent on security, conveyance and related facilities for B C Khanduri, who is presently an MP from Pauri Garhwal. Rs 1.15 crore was spent on former CM B S Koshyari’s bungalow and staff while Rs 90 lakh went for N D Tiwari and Rs 81 lakh on late Nityanand Swami, the first CM of the state.
Kaushal said Rs 8 lakh alone was spent on electricity expenditure at Ramesh Pokhriyal’s bungalow.
He clarified that no details were available for Vijay Bahuguna, who preceded the current CM Harish Rawat and who is now with the BJP.
Bahuguna stays next to the Bijapur guest house, where Rawat lives. Before Bahuguna’s resignation in 2014, the estates department had refurbished the old bungalow, which was otherwise used as state guest house.
Pokhriyal has been allotted an old circuit house next to Governor’s house which was renovated as per his suggestions.
Khanduri has been allotted a relatively new bungalow in the Yamuna colony, where ministers stays.
After RLEK’s petition, the state cabinet in August 2015 decided to withdraw facilities to ex-CMs, including car and staff as per the rules followed in UP since 1997. It however decided to continue free housing for the ex-CMs. Later, the home department recommended continuation of Y category security to the ex CMs.