| Minority welfare minister Naushad Alam’s house on Beer Chand Patel Marg in Patna. Picture by Ashok Sinha |
The hunt is on for a new address.
Governor D.Y. Patil administered oath to 14 new ministers on June 2. Since then, the leaders are waiting eagerly to be allotted their ministerial bungalows.
The new entrants to the cabinet are busy sending feelers to the building construction department. All they want is to be given a bungalow on priority basis.
Some among them claim a minister’s job is different from that of an MLA’s and the lack of a bungalow was causing problems.
Recently, a senior official in the minority welfare department met secretary, building construction, Chanchal Kumar to request a ministerial bungalow for Naushad Alam.
Alam, living in the MLA quarters on Beer Chand Patel Marg, told The Telegraph: “I have approached the building construction department regarding the allotment for a ministerial bungalow. I hope that I would get one in a week or two. A minister’s work is vast compared to an MLA. It would be nice if we get the bungalow as soon as possible.”
A senior building construction official said: “We have forwarded the file (to allot bungalows) to the chief minister’s office. Once he gives his clearance, we would start allotting the new ministers bungalows.”
Eleven BJP ministers were dropped after the party’s break of alliance with the JDU last year. Three of them — Ashwini Kumar Choubey, Giriraj Singh, Janardan Singh Sigriwal — have gone to New Delhi. Except the bungalow of former deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi and Leader of Opposition in the Assembly Nand Kishore Yadav, the other bungalows would be allotted to the new ministers.
Few ministers are, however, afraid they might not get a ministerial bungalow at a time of political instability.
A new minister living in the MLA quarters at R-Block said on condition of anonymity: “I have become minister for the first time in my political career and thought I would get an opportunity to stay in a bungalow with all the facilities. But with the present situation in the state, it looks like my dream would never become a reality. I am crossing my fingers with the hope to stay in a ministerial bungalow for at least six to nine months.”
An MLA quarter is smaller to a ministerial bungalow that includes at least eight rooms, a garden and a separate place for security guards. Ministers can enjoy farming on the premises, too. Compared to all this, an MLA quarter has only four rooms.
But not all are averse to staying in the MLA quarters. Social welfare minister Lesi Singh, who lives in the R-Block quarters, said: “I do not have any problem in absence of a ministerial bungalow. Those who want to get work done can do so from here too. It is not necessary that a ministerial bungalow means more efficiency.”