The bill being paid by the government in converting the only staff canteen in the five-storey building into Vijay Goel's new office has reached Rs 1.09 crore. The final cost may likely to go up further. The canteen was renovated last year at a cost of Rs 52 lakh.
A government staff canteen is being bulldozed to construct a new office for BJP leader and minister Vijay Goel. Five months ago, the leader was appointed as Minister of State for Statistics and Programme Implementation. The government canteen, located in New Delhi’s Sardar Patel Bhawan was renovated last year at a cost of Rs 52 lakh, according to an Indian Express report.
As per the records, the bill being paid by the government in converting the only staff canteen in the five-storey building into Vijay Goel’s office has reached Rs 1.09 crore. The final cost may likely to go up further, the report stated. Vijay Goel was Minister of Sports and Youth Affairs till September 2017 and is also MoS Parliamentary Affairs.
BJP leader, Vijay Goel claimed that he was not aware of the fact that the construction would cost over Rs 1 crore or that the government canteen had been removed to construct his office.
“When I was given charge of the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MoSPI), I asked officials to make available an office for me from the existing rooms. It’s not my decision to construct a new office. I am not aware whether there was a canteen there earlier. I am also not aware about the cost of the construction of my office. It’s the job of the CPWD. The new office is going to be ready in the next few days,” the BJP leader stated.
As reported to The Indian Express, a senior official of the Central Public Works Department (CPWD), which is accomplishing the project, said that Goel examined the construction work at his new workplace on the fifth floor, last week and on Tuesday. “Most of the work already completed was done on the advice of the Minister’s personal staff. The Minister has suggested some more modifications and alterations according to Vaastu. To comply with the latest suggestions, we may need some more money for which we will send estimates soon,”, said the senior CPWD official.
According to a CPWD report which is dated January 12, 2018, “The toughened glass round table with single stainless steel frame is to be required instead of existing conference table; existing conference table, conference chair and Minister’s chair has to be replaced; existing window roller blinds should be replaced and existing window films should be removed in Minister’s room; existing corridor doors should be replaced or modified as per new wooden door.”
Rs 71 lakh has been sanctioned to the department to be spent on civil, electrical and furnishing work. “The Minister’s office needs LED TV, Internet and telephone facilities for which we have sought sanction for another Rs 39 lakh,” said CPWD sources.
The building in central Delhi include offices of the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT), Ministry of Panchayati Raj and National Security Council Secretariat apart from MoSPI. The canteen which used to cater hundreds of government employees has now been shifted to the ground floor near the parking space.
According to a senior DoPT official, when the recommendation was first moved to replace the canteen with the leader’s new office, the Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances (DARPG) drafted an Official Memorandum against the shift, stating that Rs 52 lakh was spent on remodeling the canteen in 2016-17.
The new office for Mr. Goyal would be ready by this month-end, sources from the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs said.