Former Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit may have advised Delhiites to use coolers instead of air-conditioners to save power during the peak summer months but she had 31 ACs installed in her official 3, Moti Lal Nehru Marg home.
Besides the 31 ACs, the 5,700-sq-ft bungalow in Lutyens’ Delhi had 25 heaters, 15 desert coolers, 16 air purifiers and 12 geysers, a Right to Information (RTI) application has revealed. The house has three big bedrooms, five bathrooms, a huge drawing hall, dining room and half-a-dozen servant quarters.
The monthly bill for running a one-tonne split AC in Lutyens’ Delhi for seven hours a day comes to around Rs. 900. This calculation is based on the lowest tariff slab (Rs. 3.10 for up to 200 units) in NDMC areas, where power rates are comparatively lower than in other parts of Delhi due to lower transmission-distribution losses.
Despite repeated attempts, Dikshit — who took charge as governor of Kerala after the Congress received a drubbing in last year’s assembly polls in the Capital — could not be reached for comment.
The three-term CM had moved into the residence in 2004 at the start of her second term. The Delhi Public Works Department had run a bill of Rs. 16 lakh on its electrical renovation.
In its reply to the RTI application, the PWD said it had removed the electrical appliances after Dikshit moved out in February this year. Some of these appliances are currently being used in various government offices.
The house now has a new occupant — Manmohan Singh, who moved in after stepping down as prime minister on May 26. In sharp contrast to the electrical renovations carried out by Dikshit, Singh wanted a frugal makeover and directed the CPWD to keep renovation expenses within a Rs. 20-lakh budget. Sources said the CPWD spent `2.5 lakh on new furniture and fixtures, including ACs and upholstery.
The bungalow now has less than half-a-dozen ACs installed.
The only specific request Singh’s family made was to have the wood flooring replaced with the original mosaic tiles.