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MPs prefer hotel, Govt picks up tab

Even as it is housing 74 MPs, the Indian Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC) is yet to be paid for the stay of 32 members of the earlier House in its hotels during 2004-05.

delhi Updated: Sep 16, 2009 00:22 IST
Chetan Chauhan

Housing for Members of Parliament, or lack of it, continues to be a drain on exchequer.

Even as it is housing 74 MPs, the Indian Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC) is yet to be paid for the stay of 32
members of the earlier House in its hotels during 2004-05.

The urban development ministry, which also oversees housing requirements of MPs, owes the corporation Rs 40 lakh (Rs 4 million).

It, however, has refused to pay, saying as the MPs overstayed and should have shifted out once they were allocated accommodation. The ITDC claims it wasn’t told to get the rooms vacated.

A senior ITDC official, who didn’t wish to be identified as he is not authorised to speak to the media, said it was a case of miscommunication.

In a reply to a Right to Information application filed by activist Subhash Chandra Aggarwal, the government said 32 members of the 14th Lok Sabha preferred hotels over official accommodation, costing the exchequer Rs 40 lakh.

In fact, prolonged stay by two of them — Congress’s K.S. Rao and Ram Kripal Yadav — cost Rs 1 00,000, the RTI reply said.

Even as the government is talking austerity, 74 MPs are at present staying in ITDC hotels in the Capital. The tab: Rs 225,000 every day (Rs 6,000 per room per day).

“The tax payers money is being drained because the government has failed to get the flats occupied by former MPs vacated,” Aggarwal said.

J.P. Aggarwal, chairperson, Parliamentary Standing Committee on allocation of homes to MPs, blamed the delay on the members and the ministry.

“We’ve allocated homes to every new member. It is for the ministry to get the homes vacated…,” he said.

A former MP must move out of official residence within a month of the constitution of the new House, which was done in May this time. Until August-end, 50 of them were yet to move out.