Govt cuts power, water to squatting netas’ houses

  • Moushumi Das Gupta, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Sep 14, 2014 02:18 IST

The government on Saturday disconnected power and water connections to the houses of around 30 former MPs and cabinet ministers who have refused to vacate their plush bungalows in spite of several eviction notices.

The extreme step affected around two dozen ex-MPs across party lines, including former cabinet ministers Ajit Singh and Jitendra Singh, and former Jharkhand chief minister Babulal Marandi.

As a result of the move —carried out by the New Delhi Municipal Council under orders from the urban development ministry — around 15 former MPs moved out by Saturday evening, NDMC chairperson Jalaj Srivastava told HT.

Former MPs whose power and water lines were snapped include Congress’ Vijay Inder Singla, Mohd. Azharuddin, Avtar Singh Bhadana, who has since left the party, CPI (M)’s Khagen Das, BJP’s BY Raghavendra, son of former Karnataka chief minister BS Yeddyuruppa, and former prime minister Chandra Shekhar’s son Neeraj Sekhar.

“Till Saturday evening, we disconnected supply to 27 of the bungalows. Power and water supply will not be restored till new occupants move in,” said Srivastava. The step to disconnect power and water lines is the first in over a decade.

Ministry sources said the unprecedented decision was taken after the Lok Sabha House Committee — which allots bungalows and flats to MPs — and the UD ministry, which allots houses to cabinet ministers, met earlier this week to review the status of government accommodation yet to be vacated.

“Former MPs and ministers were asked to vacate their official accommodation by June 5. We gave them several extensions but 30 of them continued to overstay, leaving us no other option,” said a government official involved with the eviction drive.

Getting former ministers and MPs to vacate their bungalows has become a big worry for the government. Last week, RLD leader and former aviation minister Ajit Singh’s supporters blocked an eviction attempt by surrounding the 12 Tughlaq Road bungalow, not letting the team in. The UD ministry team was forced to beat a hasty retreat.

The government last resorted to a forceful eviction in 2009 after Republican Party of India chief Ramdas Athawale failed to vacate his Lodhi Estate bungalow despite several notices. Eviction officers from the UD ministry went to Athawale’s residence and forcibly removed all his belongings from the house.

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