A day after the President surrendered her post-retirement home, construction work was halted at the adjacent plots. Spread over about five acres and almost 56 per cent construction work complete, the fate of the property is now uncertain. While authorities have received no communication about what is to be done with the parts constructed so far, contractors are worried about the investments they have made. The construction cost of the property is Rs 4.66 crore.
“I have invested about Rs 1 lakh in the Plaster of Paris work, which was supposed to begin on Saturday. But I was told no work is to be carried out till further orders. I want my money back,” said Kayum Maniyar, a contractor. As far as the bigger contract is concerned, sources said the contractor met the chief engineer, Southern Command, on Saturday afternoon and was told that further decisions were to be taken only by the Ministry of Defence.
Chief engineer, Southern Command, has been the de-facto executing authority for the construction of the bungalow. The Military Engineering Service (MES) submitted the estimate in July 2011, which was sanctioned in September 2011 by the Engineer-in- Chief, Ministry of Defence, and the Ministry of Urban Development. While the officials in Southern Command have been tight- lipped about the execution process, an MES official said, “The Ministry of Urban Development sat on the proposal for three months. The initial estimate worked out to Rs 8-9 crore. This was cut down and the final sanctioned amount was Rs 5.18 crore.” The contract was awarded to M/s Jain Builders. “The place has been designed as a house; it is difficult to use it for any other purpose,” said an official.