Centre made exceptions for Virbhadra, Chavan in Delhi house allotments

Although the Urban Development Ministry turned down the Delhi government's request for a "modest" flat to be alloted to Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal in Lutyens Delhi, saying the houses there were meant for central government ministers and officials, the Centre has earlier made exceptions to the rule.

Virbhadra Singh took over as the Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh more than a year ago, but that did not deter the government from allowing him to retain a sprawling bungalow in Lutyens Delhi. Last week, the Cabinet Committee on Accommodation (CCA) cleared allotment of a Type VII bungalow to Singh, pulling it out from the state's quota, which is meant for the state government employees who work in Delhi.

The CCA's approval for the 1, Jantar Mantar bungalow was required as it is beyond the purview of the Directorate of Estates under the Urban Development Ministry to allot a Type VII bungalow to somebody who is neither a central minister nor a bureaucrat.

Singh was first allotted the house in 2009 when he became the Union Steel Minister and later when he got the portfolio for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises.

Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan also continues to occupy a Type VIII bungalow on 11, Race Course Road even after he ceased to be the Parliamentary Affairs Minister in 2010. The allotment for his house was also cleared by the CCA.

The CCA comprises Urban Development Minister Kamal Nath, Urban Housing and Poverty Alleviation Minister Girija Vyas, Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Kumari Selja and Defence Minister A K Antony.

"Since they are chief ministers of other states they are not entitled to occupy any house here in Delhi. They can only do so if there have a special permission or the CCA clears the allotment. As we are always short of such bungalows we allot from the state government's quota. Every state has an earmarked pool of six houses in Lutyens' Delhi — four big houses and two small ones meant for state government employees," said a senior ministry official.

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