Row over MLA hostel in Maharashtra

A file photo of Manora MLA hostel in Mumbai.   | Photo Credit: VIJAY BATE

As Congress questions the central government’s expenditure on central vista project in Delhi, Opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Maharashtra has now questioned the decision of Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government to issue ₹900 crore tenders for Manora MLA hostel in the time of the pandemic.

Congress shot back at the BJP saying the hostel was demolished by the previous BJP-led State government and the delay in redevelopment has already cost the State exchequer ₹700 crore as every month around ₹3.5 crores was being paid to MLAs, including those of the BJP.

On May 6, BJP MLA Atul Bhatkhalkar tweeted, “Rs 900 crore tender has been issued by the Thackeray government for the MLA hostel. This seem to have slipped the eyes of those advising the Prime Minister to focus on vaccination rather than the construction of the parliament complex. Tell the Chief Minister to focus on corona pandemic. He will get the percentage there as well.”

Congress general secretary Sachin Sawant shot back saying, the decision to revamp the MLA hostel was taken by the Devendra Fadnavis government in 2018. “Agency NBCC appointed by them demolished structure. Due to delay govt has already lost more than ₹700 cr - as every month around ₹3.5 crs are being paid to MLAs, even BJP MLAs are paid ₹1 lakh each,” he said.

The BJP MLA alleged that the projected expenditure by the Fadnavis government was ₹600 crore while the MVA government increased it by ₹300 crore. “We think there are a number of irregularities involved and therefore the tender price has increased so much. The Chief Minister must cancel the tenders and if he fails to do so, the BJP will lead an agitation against the project,” he said.

Mr. Sawant said a high-power committee comprising the Chief Minister, Chairman of legislative council and Speaker of legislative assembly took the decision of handing over work to State Public Works Department (PWD) last year and a provision of ₹875 crore was made for it.

“Deadline was kept to start work in March 2021. Can’t be any comparison between Central Vista & on-going process. PM already has a lavish house, we have parliament and residential premises for MPs but here MLA hostel is demolished and needed (sic),” he said.

The MLA hostel with two towers — one with 42 floors and the other with 28 floors — is expected to be completed in three years. It will have a total of 675 flats.

After the demolition of old Manora MLA hostel, the State government has been paying ₹1 lakh to each MLA every month to facilitate alternative accommodation in the city.

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Printable version | Jun 21, 2021 11:13:11 PM |

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