news Monday, July 20, 2015 - 05:30
The Central government has spent close to Rs 21 crore from January to May 22 of this year compensating for Members of Parliament (MPs) who had not taken up government accommodation allotted to them for various reasons. The information comes via the reply to an RTI filed by activist Subhash Agrawal, a copy of which exists with TNM. The document also revealed that in the year 2014, the government had spent Rs 2, 90, 67,493 crore on accommodation for MPs. In the first five months of this year however, the amount spend on five-starred hotels and guest-houses for 47 Lok Sabha MPs was Rs 21,02,18,717 crore. This rise in expenditure can be attributed to the Lok Sabha elections of 2014 which resulted in the influx of many first-time-MPs. The MPs are still living in transit conditions and have not taken up government-allotted accommodation due to various reasons. The response also showed that four MPs were from Andhra Pradesh (three belonging to TDP and one belonging to TRS), CPI (M) MP Innocent from Kerala and thirteen AIADMK MPs from Tamil Nadu including senior leaders like M Thambidurai. Of the thirteen AIADMK MPs, six have not  shifted into their accommodation in spite of it being made "habitable" over a month ago. Agrawal alleges that the exchequer’s money is being wasted in the process, but an AIADMK MP, on the condition of anonymity says that despite being “hospitable”, the houses did not always suit the needs of the MPs. They mention that several MPs believed in Vaastu, Feng Shui and the like, and that they did not find the houses to their liking in that way. Agrawal says that the “guilty ones (should be) punished in governance for violation of rules”, and cites the Supreme Court verdict in the case ‘SD Bandi vs Divisional Traffic Officer, KSRTC & others’. The judgment was “specifically desired against over-occupation of government-bungalows after one month of losing entitlement with a grace of maximum one more month,” says Agrawal. The RTI response however, also mentions that in ten of the 47 cases, the houses have been declared “habitable”. Agrawal is not too kind though, and says that the MPs need to refurbish the cost to the state. “Money spent of transit-accommodation of new members of Lok Sabha should be recovered from former Parliamentarians overstaying in government-accommodations,” he says. He cites former Rajya Sabha MP Shabana Azmi “who went to attend her last day in Rajya Sabha after vacating her government-accommodation rightly stating that she would lose entitlement to retain it after she ceased to retain her membership of Rajya Sabha,” as an example.  The response to Subhash Agrawal's RTI query in full below:     LS(TRANSIT ACCO)2015.pdf by Siddhartha Mishra
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