While legislators from across party lines in Maharashtra have complained about the poor condition of the MLA hostel in the city, they still don’t want to give up one of their rooms, as demanded by the government.
Members of legislative assembly (MLAs) are allotted two rooms in the Akashwani hostel at Churchgate. Some claimed they were forced to sleep on the floor, because of bedbugs in the rooms.
The issue of the legislators’ hostel was raised in the assembly in the backdrop of notices served to them to vacate one of their rooms. The state wants MLAs to give up their rooms to make up for the fewer accommodations after the dilapidated Majestic guest house, Fort, had to be demolished.
The deadline to vacate the rooms ended last week. The legislature secretariat has now served notices to MLAs, warning them of a penalty of Rs 2,000 a day for not vacating the rooms.
“I live with my family in the hostel when in Mumbai. It is difficult to manage in one room. Despite being a five-time MLA, I do not have a house in Mumbai. If the secretariat is falling short of the rooms, it should ask MLCs, or MLAs from Mumbai and Thane,to give up their accommodation,” said Bhaskar Jadhav of the NCP.
Some MLAs said they had put up cancer patients and workers from their constituencies in the rooms, but it will be difficult after the new diktat. Sandhya Kupekar of the NCP said the rooms were full of bedbugs.
Finance minister Sudhir Mungantiwar admitted legislatures were facing difficulties. “It is unfortunate that one of the MLAs, Harish Pinpale, had to sleep on the carpet because of bedbugs. When our government is talking about bringing people above the poverty line, it is shameful an MLA had to sleep on the carpet.”
After presiding officer Vijay Auti directed the state government to hold a meeting on the issue on Tuesday, Mungantiwar assured the house to come out with an acceptable solution.