After a decade at 7 Race Course Road, the official residence of the Indian prime minister, Manmohan Singh and his wife are ready to move into 3 Motilal Nehru Marg, a sprawling bungalow on a busy roundabout not too far from where he has been staying.
The leafy bungalow, which is about three acres with expansive lawns at the front and back, was home to former Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, who had to vacate it when she lost the Delhi assembly election in December 2013. Former Prime Minister PV Narasimha Rao also lived down the road on Motilal Nehru Marg after he left office in 1996 till he died in December 2004.
The renovations are focusing especially on beefing the security around the house, which include a new sentry-post erected at the entrance. The height of the boundary walls has been raised and barbed wires have been erected on them. Manmohan Singh and his family would continue to be guarded by the elite Special Protection Group (SPG) as a former prime minister. A huge sliding iron gate has been erected at the entrance, in addition to the main outer gate and the security cabin, adjacent to the main entrance gate was being renovated as well.
A peek inside the house showed gardeners busy manicuring the lawns while pots of flowers and plants were being given a fresh coat of paint. A labourer painting the inner walls of the security cabin had no idea about the name of the new occupant of the bungalow but confidently stated that some "VIP" was coming. "I know that some VIP is going to move here but I don't know the name," he said. Meanwhile, the Central Public Works Department (CPWD) said the bungalow was almost ready to be moved in.
"The work is almost complete and we are giving the final touches," said a CPWD official.