JMM leaders fume over construction of a new Lokayukta office building adjacent to party president Sibu Soren’s official residence, saying it will affect the privacy and security of the former chief minister and his family.
The G+3 building (ground floor-plus three storey) will be constructed on a 1136 square metre built-up area in Morhabadi where Soren has been staying since 1995. Besides the JMM chief and his wife Rupi Soren, his younger son Basant and his family stay in the Morhabadi house.
Taking note of the Soren family’s unhappiness and party workers’ concerns, JMM general secretary Supriyo Bhattacharya shot off a letter on September 24 to chief minister Raghubar Das, saying the building coming up west of the Morhabadi house would impinge on the privacy of the leader and his family members.
“The windows of the first floor will open in the direction of a mango orchard where Guruji relaxes. The kitchen, dining and bedroom also come in the direction of the new building which is hardly 15 feet away,” Bhattacharya said.
Increasing visits by people and officials once the new Lokayukta office starts functioning will affect the JMM chief’s security as well, he said.
Urging Das to order stopping of construction work and demolition of the portion built after ignoring the special branch’s observation, Bhattacharya sought an inquiry and action against erring building construction department officials.
When contacted, ADG (special branch) Anurag Gupta said, “I do not discuss security aspects with the media.”
The house was allotted to Soren when he was the chairman of the Jharkhand Area Autonomous Council (JAAC) in 1995. He later became the Union coal minister in the UPA-I government and chief minister of Jharkhand thrice.
Soren didn’t move to the chief minister’s official residence and preferred to stay in Morhabadi. He has been retaining the house as the official residence of a former chief minister since he quit in 2010 following imposition of the President’s rule in the state.
“We got the administrative approval for constructing a G+3 building on February 21, 2015 and started construction work thereafter,” said building construction department’s chief engineer Arvind Kumar Singh.
“We are just the executing agency,” he said, adding that the building construction department could also build a watch tower and put up barbed wires if recommended.
Executive engineer PK Singh said the government has sanctioned `7.4 crore for the building. “We are into the second floor and have utilised `1.70 crore till date,” he said.