The urban development (UD) ministry on Thursday justified its move to reverse the cabinet decision of 2000 — disallowing setting up of memorials in government bungalows in Lutyen’s Delhi — saying a foundation in the name of former deputy prime minister Babu Jagjivan Ram was allowed to come up in an unutilised bungalow.
The UD ministry had in August allotted the 6, Krishna Menon Marg bungalow to the Babu Jagjivan Ram National Foundation (BJRNF) till July 1, 2038. Before this, the bungalow was allotted to his daughter, Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar, when she was the social justice minister in 2004.
But Kumar did not occupy it, and instead requested that the house be converted into a memorial in the name of her father. When she became the Lok Sabha Speaker, Kumar was allotted a bungalow on Akbar Road. The 6, Krishna Menon Marg house, however, remained unallotted since 2004.
The bungalow was the official residence of Babu Jagjivan Ram till he died in 1986. His family vacated it in 2002 after the death of his wife Indrani Devi.
The Union cabinet had in August 2000, imposed a ban on conversion of government bungalows into memorials of departed leaders. According to the ministry, there have not been any claimants to the said bungalow till date. Senior ministry officials maintain that since the bungalow was lying unutilised, it was decided to allot it to BJRNF.
“No rules have been flouted. The decision to allot the bungalow was taken by the Cabinet Committee on Accommodation,” said a senior UD ministry official.