Office of the then (caretaker) Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee after NDA losing Lok Sabha elections in the year 2004 at a supersonic speed managed to get number of government-bungalow changed from 8 to 6A with files moving and signed by dozens of officials just within a couple of days perhaps due to belief in numerology. RTI response revealed that firstly it was desired to get bungalow-number to be changed to lucky 7. But when it was pointed out that bungalow-number 7 already existed on other side of the road as per practice of having odd and even numbered bungalow-numbers on two opposite sides of the road in Leyton’s zone of New Delhi, an over-writing was done in communication from Prime Minister’s Office desiring this bungalow to be re-numbered as 6A and then allotted to Atal Bihari Vajpayee as his post-retirement government-accommodation.
Is such facility to get house-number changed according to personal desire available to commoners. If not, such a royal privilege available to political rulers must be done away with bungalow-number 6A Krishna Menon Marg (New Delhi) now re-numbered as 8 Krishna Menon Marg (New Delhi) with enquiry ordered and guilty ones exposed and punished for such out-of-rules numbering of a government-bungalow.
Time has come that unhealthy practice of allotting post-retirement government-accommodations to anyone including former political rulers both at the centre and in states may be abolished by adopting the US practice where even the former president gets half of last-drawn salary as the only post-retirement benefit. A recent Supreme Court verdict has snatched such self-gifted privilege from former UP Chief Ministers. However, in case some such political ruler does not have a suitable family-accommodation, then a government-flat in some secured government-locality (like New Moti Bagh, New Delhi) may be allotted as post-retirement government-accommodation as a special case.
Subhash Chandra Agrawal
(The views expressed by the author in the article are his/her own.)