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Luxury address for ‘homeless’ Karnataka ministers

india Updated: Nov 24, 2008 00:20 IST
BR Srikanth
BR Srikanth
Hindustan Times
Luxury address for ‘homeless’ Karnataka ministers

Unable to provide accommodation to 15 of its ministers, the Yeddyurappa government in Karnataka has hit upon a Rs 100 crore plan.

It has decided to build a dozen luxury villas to tide over the shortage. A five-bedroom sprawl with an office, a conference hall, staff quarters, a parking bay for 30 cars and manicured lawns - they’ll have it all. The villas will be come up on a 14.2-acre plot eight kms from the Vidhana Soudha along the highway leading to the new airport.

As the land belongs to the Karnataka Agro Industries Corporation, the Public Works Department will pay Rs 40 crore for it. Add to it construction, landscaping and sewage treatment plant costs, and the project merrily touches the Rs 100 crore-mark.

Minister for Rural Development and Panchayati Raj Shobha Karandlaje, who made the decision public, said the total cost hasn’t been worked out.

The decision has come in for criticism. “They want luxurious quarters when the state is facing acute shortage of power and infrastructure,” VS Ugrappa, Leader of Opposition in the Legislative Council, told HT. He and his assembly counterpart Mallikarjun Kharge, too, haven’t been provided official residence. Ministers lived in rented accommodations when Ramakrishna Hegde and SM Krishna were the CMs, and no one complained, Ugrappa said

The cost could work out to around Rs 3,000 a square foot, architect K Jaisim said. “We build at Rs 1,500 a sq foot, but that’s without high-end additions. I’m sure it will be double as these will be top-of-the-line villas,” he told HT. High-rise apartments with good security and privacy would have been his choice.

Eighteen of the 33 ministers have been accommodated in government bungalows. The rest either live in their own houses or in rented accommodation. “When judges can have been sanctioned an area for Nyaya Grama, we thought why not have a similar complex for ministers,” Minister for Law and Parliamentary Affairs Suresh Kumar told HT. Ministers can rent a house for upto Rs 40,000 a month to be paid by the government.