It is not only politicians who cling to official accommodation they are no longer entitled to.
There are 641 central government officials in the Capital who are doing just the same, the directorate of estates has admitted in reply to an RTI application filed by Hindustan Times.
The reply, dispatched on January 8 this year, shows that most of the houses bureaucrats are occupying illegally lie in prime areas of the city: Pandara Road, Shahjahan Road, Chanakyapuri, Lodi Gardens, Moti Bagh and R.K. Puram.
The figure is the same as that quoted by Saugata Roy, Minister of State for Urban Development, while replying to a question in the last session of Parliament.
“All allotments have been cancelled…21 cases are subjudice before the civil courts and 600 cases have been referred to the court of the estate Officer for eviction,” Roy had said.
The houses vary in size and quality, with the best ones spacious and extremely comfortable: 160 sq metres area, with three bedrooms, and if located on the ground floor, a lawn outside as well.
Officials allotted government houses pay a nominal rent, the amount being less than Rs 1,000. They are given two months to shift once they retire or are transferred, during which they continue to pay the same rent as before.
If they stay on and on, they are given eviction notices and also charged an official ‘market’ rent, which is much higher.
But even this higher rent is a fraction of the actual rent for private accommodation in those areas.
Not surprisingly, bureaucrats, even when they are no more eligible, willingly pay the ‘market’ rent and stay on.
The rent for a 160 sq metre apartment in an upscale locality like Golf Links would be around Rs 2 lakh a month, said property dealers.
The highest market rent charged is around Rs 40-45,000 a month.