Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Mar 30:
Two days after Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik revealed the names of several leaders who have not vacated their quarters after the time was due, Leader of Opposition in Odisha Assembly Narasingha Mishra, Congress Chief Whip Tara Prasad Bahinipati, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Bikram Keshari Arukh and Culture and Tourism Minister Ashok Panda have expressed willingness to return one of their quarters.
Mishra wrote to the Assembly Secretary last evening requesting him to take back the government quarters at Unit IV area. He, however, stated that he can occupy two quarters as per the guidelines.
“As per the guidelines, I can keep two quarters. The government had allocated me both and I had been paying rent for them. However, now that there is a shortage of quarters and some of the members of the house do not even have one, I find it inappropriate to keep two. This is why I have offered to vacate my Unit IV quarter,” said Mishra.
Minister Panda offered to vacate the house which was in his name, but under possession of former Chilika MLA Raghunath Sahoo. Similarly, Bahinipati also expressed his willingness to vacate one of the quarters under his possession and said that he requested the authorities to take back one of his quarters two months back.
Later in the evening Arukh offered to vacate one of his quarters.
Response from other leaders, however, is still awaited.
Notably, Chief Minister Patnaik on Monday stated the Assembly that three former ministers that are no more members of the Odisha Assembly and six former MLAs have not vacated their official quarters. Apart from them, the Deputy Speaker, Leader of the Opposition (LoP), Chief Whips of the ruling party and Congress, four ministers and eight MLAs have occupied multiple government quarters in the state capital.
The State Government has written to the secretary of the Odisha Assembly to ask Deputy Speaker, LoP, Chief Whip of the ruling party, four ministers and other MLAs occupying multiple government quarters to immediately vacate additional quarters occupied by them, the Chief Minister had stated in his reply to a question by BJP MLA Dilip Ray.
According to the list provided by the Chief Minister, Deputy Speaker Sanand Marandi, LoP Narasingh Mishra, government Chief Whip Ananta Das in addition to their quarters at the MLA Colony has occupied bungalows of the General Administration (GA) Department in other places of the capital city.
Ministers Ashok Chandra Panda, Bikram Keshari Arukh, Jogendra Behera and Pradip Panigrahi in addition to their quarters at MLA Colony have occupied bungalows of the GA department, Patnaik cited in his reply.
Besides, Chief Whip of the Congress party Tara Prasad Bahinipati, MLAs – Bhujbal Majhi, Nrusingha Charan Sahu, Prafulla Majhi, Subrat Tarai, Subal Sahu, Rabi Narayan Nayak and Ramesh Patua – apart from having quarters at MLA Colony have availed GA department quarters and Puri MLA Maheswar Mohanty has occupied two quarters at MLA Colony, Patnaik had said.