Dr Manmohan Singh had to wait over a month before he was able to move into the Prime Minister’s residence — 7 Race Course Road — in 2004. He is making sure that his successor doesn’t.
The PMO has asked the CPWD to complete the renovation of Singh’s new home — 3, Motilal Nehru Marg — by April 30 so that the Singh family can move out well before the country’s next PM is named later in mid-May.
“We were told that the PM didn’t want to stay at 7, RCR a day longer than necessary... or spend a paisa more than his entitlement (of `20 lakh for renovation),” a CPWD official said.
Officials at the CPWD — often accused of missing deadlines — insisted they would be able to meet this one.
The previous occupant of the house was former Delhi CM Sheila Dikshit who had left the bungalow in good shape.
The PM’s wife Gursharan Kaur, however, found the wooden flooring — put in by Dikshit — a bit too fancy and has asked for it to be peeled off and give the original mosaic floor a good scrubbing, said the official.
Since the Delhi government has removed the dozen-plus ACs -- put in for Dikshit -- the official added that the Singh family will have to make do with two. There is a R2.5 lakh limit for furniture, fixtures and upholstery. “This will be just enough to get some basic furniture and two AC’s,” added an official.
The CPWD is also building a temporary structure to accommodate the PM’s security cover. X-ray scanners, a small waiting area, frisking booth and a reception desk are also being built.
The bungalow has three bedrooms, a drawing and living room, a dining room, a makeshift room to receive visitors, a kitchen and five bathrooms besides servant quarters. Dikshit vacated the house in January.