While his grand swearing-in ceremony is being criticised, chief minister-designate Devendra Fadnavis has directed the administration to avoid lavish interiors and alterations at his official residence at Malabar Hill, Varsha.
According to a government official, Fadnavis has asked the public works department to carry out minor repairs and paint the 12,000 square feet residence, which has two bungalows – Varsha and Torna. Varsha is the CM’s residence, while Torna is used as his office at the residence.
“The new CM wants to keep his house simple. He doesn’t want any extravagant furniture, curtains or any other decorative items. The total cost may not go beyond Rs. 16 lakh,” said a government official, requesting anonymity.
The work will start after outgoing CM Prithviraj Chavan vacates the bungalow on Friday. Fadnavis is likely to shift to Varsha in a week. The 44-year-old has also refused to move to the state guesthouse Sahyadri, after his selection as the leader of the house. He continues to stay in a 12x10 room at the Majestic MLAs hostel near Regal Cinema. He has been staying in this room, since he was elected as legislator in 1999.
The PWD has spent Rs. 73 lakh on the renovation of Varsha in the past three years, according to information given by the government in response to an RTI query.
Chavan had not allowed the government to spend a lot on Varsha before he moved in on February 2011, three months after taking charge. Chavan had also scrapped his predecessor Ashok Chavan’s plan of remodelling the complex for Rs. 5 crore.