Mahesh Sharma

Defending the allotment of the bungalow of former President APJ Abdul Kalam to Tourism and Culture Mahesh Sharma, Urban Development Minister M Venkaiah Naidu on Thursday said the allocation was made as per “rules and procedures” of the government.”All our ministers have been allocated government accommodation one after another. Only Mahesh Sharma could not be allocated. Earlier, 7 Tyagraj Marg was allotted to him but the occupant that time did not vacate the bungalow,” he told PTI. “Now the 10 Rajaji Marg bungalow, which has become vacant, has been allocated to Sharma as per rules and procedures on the basis of vacation by former President Kalam’s staff,” he said.Quoting Rule 3 of the Ministers Residence Rules, 1962, he said, “Cabinet Ministers and Ministers of State shall be allotted Type VIII accommodation subject to availability and in that order.”<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>He also cited an office memorandum issued by the UPA government on November 30, 2007 that said, “Cabinet Ministers and Ministers shall be alloted Type VIII subject to availability and in that order and Deputy Ministers shall be allotted Type VII subject to availability. It was an order during the Congress regime.” He said that ministers of state during UPA regime including Jyotiraditya Scindia, K H Muniyappa, Sachin Pilot, K Chiranjeevi, E Ahamed, Rajiv Shukla and Adheer Ranjan Chowdhury were allotted Type VIII bungalows.”So now why this hue and cry now,” he asked. Attacking political opponents for making the Type VIII bungalow allocation to Sharma an issue, he said, “As usual they are continuing with the disinformation campaign. They blow issues out of proportion. They twist the facts, try to mislead the people and the latest being the allocation of a bungalow to one of my ministers Mahesh Sharma.” He said Kalam’s staff has informed the government that by October 31, the premises will be vacated.”I am happy about that. Unlike others, who made a big issue out of it these people have agreed to vacate by October 31.”On the demand for making the Rajaji Marg residence a memorial, Naidu said the government has already decided to set up a memorial in the memory of Kalam in his native place of Rameswaram in Tamil Nadu.The Tamil Nadu government has been approached for land and it was kind enough to agree promptly and earmarked the land, he said, adding Prime Minister Narendra Modi has informally asked a group of people to discuss finer details of the memorial to be built at Rameswaram. “So that being the case I do not know what is the issue about it. Some people are trying to mislead the public that is why I thought put the record straight.”He further said there was a government order banning conversion of government bungalow into memorial on November 2, 2000. The order says “It has been decided to impose a total ban on the conversion of government bungalows into memorials of the departed leaders in future.”He said “This was a decision taken by the cabinet in 2000. We are now in 2015.” Besides, there is a Supreme Court decision also banning conversion of bungalows into memorials. The Supreme Court in a judgment on July 5, 2013 in the matter of SD Bandi vs Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation ordered that “henceforth no memorial should be allowed in future in any government houses earmarked for residential accommodation”.”The government is bound by the Supreme Court order as well as the previous Cabinet decision. That is why even though Ajit Singh insisted to convert his house as a memorial for Choudhury Charan Singh we could not accommodate that. “Then Chandrasekhar’s family also wanted the same but it was rejected. So keeping all these in mind I have taken a view that once the staff of the former President vacates the Rajaji Marg residence here then it was allocated as per the rule and procedure to a minister who has waiting for accommodation for the past 15 months,” he said.Naidu also said that since many ex-ministers are still occupying government accommodation “they do not have any moral right to criticise the government”. He further said that some media reports have highlighted it as Kalam’s bungalow. “It is a government bungalow provided to the former President of India as per the procedure and rule. Now it has been alloted to a minister. It is as simple as that,” he said.

Original article: 

Allotment of APJ Abdul Kalam’s bungalow to Mahesh Sharma as per rules, says Venkaiah Naidu