The Hon’ble Chairman of Rajya Sabha, M Venkaiah Naidu today expressed his concern over the delay in handing over possession of 8,700 square meters of land allotted to the Rajya Sabha Secretariat way back in 2003 at R K Puram in New Delhi.
At a meeting held to review the status of the issue with senior officials of the Rajya Sabha Secretariat, Ministry of Housing & Urban Affairs, Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board, Land and Development Office and legal counsel, the Chairman directed the officials concerned to initiate appropriate and urgent action to get the land cleared of encroachments.
While a total land of 8,700 sq.m was allotted to Rajya Sabha Secretariat, around 4384.25 sq m of it was occupied by different organisations, including three NGOs. In addition, unauthorized Jhuggies have come upon this land over an extent of 1193.54 sq m.
The Hon’ble Chairman noted that there have been inordinate delays and urged that necessary steps should be taken to resolve all outstanding issues including the pending cases in the High Court.
He also noted that Rs. 1.25 crores has been incurred by Rajya Sabha towards the cost of the land and relocation of Jhuggies (slums) way back in 2003 itself.
He pointed out that the Rajya Sabha TV used to pay an annual rent of Rs.30 crore earlier and it was now reduced to Rs.15 crore after he took up the issue with New Delhi Municipal Council. He observed that even Rs. 15 crore was a heavy and avoidable financial burden.
The Chairman was keen that once the land is handed over, the construction of Rajya Sabha TV and residential quarters for the staff of the Rajya Sabha Secretariat, which is long-awaited, could be taken up immediately so that there are substantial savings to the public exchequer.
At the review meeting, the Chairman asked the Secretary, Housing and Urban Affairs to undertake a comprehensive review and coordinate efforts for expeditious resolution of all issues. He also directed Rajya Sabha Secretariat to take necessary steps to resolve legal impediments.