Patna: After more than a decade of planning, legislators of the Bihar assembly can now aspire to move in the houses built for them by the state government. However, it will not be easy for all 243 MLAs to get in the luxury bungalows built by the building construction department (BCD), as the number of fully furnished houses are too less to be evenly distributed.
On Wednesday, chief minister Nitish Kumar inaugurated as many as 65 out of the total 247 bungalows constructed at the place of old houses on Beerchand Patel Path and handed over the keys to eight MLAs at a function organised by the BCD in presence of assembly speaker Awadh Bihar Chaudhary, BCD minister Ashok Choudhary and finance minister Vijay Kumar Chaudhary.
Legislators’ housing project was conceptualised in 2011
Mulled by the CM in 2011, the state government finalised the proposal to build houses for 75 members of the legislative council (MLCs) and 247 for the MLAs on 69.95 acre land located near R-Block area and on the Beerchand Patel Path—in the heart of the city—at the cost of ₹450.35 crore. The MLA building project was awarded Kashish Developers Limited and construction finally began in 2015.
While as many as 55 swanky duplexes built for the MLCs have been handed over to the legislative council for possession a couple of years ago, work on the rest 20 houses and common areas are yet to complete. The MLAs’ housing project is more worrisome as only 65 have been opened for possession, while construction on the rest is still on.
CM pulls up BCD secretary for inordinate delay
The CM pulled up BCD secretary Kumar Ravi for inordinate delay in completion of the project and asked him not only to indulge getting ‘money’ only, but also ensure that the project is delivered at the earliest. The CM made the critical remark to Kumar Ravi on stage at the bungalow opening function. However, Kumar Ravi said he did not get what the CM’s remark on ‘money’ actually meant for him. “The department will take action against the builder for the delay. As per the extended deadline, the construction company was supposed to handover all the bungalows by October-end,” said Kumar Ravi.
MLAs and MLCs, who were elected after 2015 state polls, are living in their own houses or rented flats, as the existing bungalows meant for them were demolished before they could enter the state legislature. The legislators are being paid ₹22500 as house rent allowance and ₹6,000 as water and power charges after the old houses were demolished for new construction.
Kashish Developers starts work on project in 2015
“The work on MLCs’ bungalows started in August 2015 while that on the MLAs’ bungalows a bit late owing to delay in getting the old quarters evacuated,” said BCD minister Choudhary. Some of the legislators were offered higher income group (HIG) flats of the Bihar State Housing Board at Kankerbagh in 2015-16, but they declined to move in, which led to late start on work.
Moved by tardy pace of the work, the BCD had proceeded to cancel the contract, which was challenged by the construction company on various grounds. The construction company had cited demonetization, ban on construction, implementation of new GST regime, outbreak of Covid pandemic, irregular payment from the department and large scale encroachment as reasons for failed deadlines.
Built in 3-storey, each bungalow comes with 3-bed rooms
According to the DPR, finalised in 2011 by the Patna-based Sen & Lall Consultants Private Limited, each bungalow with a floor area of 3,500sqft has three bedrooms on the first floor and one office room and one public meeting room on the ground floor. Each bungalow, built in three storey, comes with three bedrooms, drawing room, guest room, two air conditioners, four double-bed, dining table, office chamber office and common facilities like sewerage treatment plant, rainwater harvesting, etc.
- Total cost of legislators’ housing project: ₹450.35 crore
- Number of bungalows for MLAs: 247
- Number of duplexes for MLCs: 75
- Area of construction: 69.85 acre
- Duplexes ready by now: 55 for MLCs & 65 for MLAs
- Floor area of bungalow: 3500 sq ft
- Project started: 2015