MLA Hostel to be privatised

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 31 Jul 2017 10:12:19


Special Correspondent,

Maharashtra Government is mulling over a proposal to privatise operation, repairs and maintenance of sprawling MLA Hostel situated in the heart of the city. The Public Works Department (PWD) will outsource the building number 1, 2 and 3 of the hostel for allotment to private parties.

The proposal was originally mooted when Nitin Gadkari was PWD Minister in BJP-Shiv Sena alliance Government, but due to stringent conditions, no private party came forward.
Every year, the issue of wasteful expenditure for upkeep of the building rocks the session and PWD faces wrath of activists for alleged irregularities, inflated bills in repair and maintenance. Now, with maintenance cost going up every year and very few takers for MLA hostel, the presiding officers of both the Houses and legislators are also in favour of giving a much-needed facelift to this huge building situated in Civil Lines with ample parking space.

Apart from improvement in service, better interior, the private party will naturally ensure professional house-keeping service to occupants. In effect, MLA Hostel can become an attractive destination for visitors to Nagpur.

MLA Hostel has 383 rooms in three multi-storied buildings. The private operator will use the hostel for private use for 11 months and during one month free of cost accommodation will be provided to legislators during Winter Session of the legislature at Nagpur. The PWD will not pay a penny to the private operator. If the Winter session of the Assembly extends beyond the month of December, in such a situation, it is mandatory for the contractor to wait for some days till the session gets over. The basic price of the lease contract will be Rs 32.04 crore for the period of 10 years.

Presently, the rooms are used to provide accommodation to the legislators during December. The building is several years old and its maintenance every year has become a costly affair for public exchequer. The furniture of the building is in bad shape, the rooms are not maintained properly. Besides, these days, most MLAs prefer to stay in the hotels and the hostel rooms are occupied by their followers and supporters. The maintenance of the building for remaining 11 months is a very difficult and costly affair for the PWD.

Not surprisingly, the hostel always garnered wrong publicity for undesirable activities and the privatisation will remove the burden of security from the shoulder of the PWD officers.
Haribhau Bagade, Speaker in the Assembly and Ramraje Naik Nimbalkar, Chairman in the council came forward with the proposal to involve private parties in the operation, maintenance and repairs of the hostel.

As per the specification of the project, the agency will have to manage the allocation of rooms efficiently with quality and hospitality. The contractor will carry out housekeeping of the rooms including maintenance of the premises. The agency will have to install air conditioner of 2 tonne capacity in every room at his own cost and will have to maintain for the entire period. The contractor has to provide the rooms at 50 per cent concessional rates to thegovernment recommendations. Maximum 10 per cent of
the rooms to be given on subsidised rate to the State Government recommendations. The contractor will be barred from doing commercial activities and flood plaza will not be allowed in the premises.

Presently, the hostel is available on cheaper rent to the citizens for marriage and other functions, sports persons, drama artists, delegates who come to Nagpur for seminars, farmers and other citizens. Privatisation of the premises will deprive these persons from availing this facility in present rates.