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Sweet home: Parliamentary House Committee chairman says handling capital's housing crisis is a challenging task

Tuesday, 5 August 2014 - 7:05am IST | Place: New Delhi | Agency: dna
House that! Most MPs want bungalows

Mumbai MP Kirit Somaiya is a busy man. His chamber on the third floor of Parliament House building is crowded with MPs seeking accommodation in the capital.

Several of them want a bungalow. Some of those who settle for a flat want a ground floor one, preferably with a private garden. And, they want it fast.

Somaiya, the Parliamentary House Committee chairman, who is himself staying at the Maharashtra Sadan awaiting his South Avenue flat to be ready, tries not to lose his cool.

"Every human being wants a good house.... First-time MPs come with hopes of getting a good accommodation in Delhi," Somaiya says talking to dna. With 311 first-time MPs and 40-50 members who were not in the 15th Lok Sabha, around 360 did not have accommodation in the capital. 

The panel has rejected pleas of extension from 187 former MPs or ministers who have accommodation but have lost this year's election.

"If we had agreed to even one such demand there would have been problems," Somaiya says. The state department was forced to take possession in 20 of these places recently. Around 150 are yet to
vacate.

Somaiya points out that several of the first-time MPs were senior leaders in their states living in sprawling bungalows but have to now settle for two-bedroom flats. For the Lok Sabha MPs, there are around
400 flats, mostly two-bedroom, and just about 150 bungalows including those for ministers. There are 93 two-time MPs, but only 13 bungalows.

A two-time BJP MP, Somaiya chose a modest two-bedroom accommodation despite the fact that as House Committee head he was entitled to a bungalow. 

His task as House Committee chairman is not easy. Asked how he dealt with it, he says, "I take it as a challenge to bring transparency in the process. After what was going on for years, there is need for
transparency. I like it."

However, he does point out that the condition of several of the North Avenue flats, built in 1952, lacked maintenance and needed to be made livable.

An active parliamentarian in the Vajpayee regime, Somaiya defeated NCP's Sanjay Dina Patil by a margin of 317122 votes in Mumbai North East this time. During the UPA regime, he had taken a pro-active role
in exposes against the then ministers in the Centre and state.




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