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Kalam, Shekhawat still homeless in New Delhi
Sumir Kaul in New Delhi | September 11, 2007 17:38 IST
More than a month after demitting office, former President A P J Abdul Kalam and Vice President Bharion Singh Shekhawat continue to wait for new homes that are yet to be readied by the authorities.
While in the national capital, the 75-year-old Kalam continues to stay in a "High Risk Category Officers Hut", the simple accommodation offered to him in Delhi Cantonment by army chief Gen J J Singh when he demitted office on July 25.
The former supreme commander of the armed forces accepted the offer made by Singh and the guesthouse was specially readied by the army for him.
Kalam, who has Z-Plus security cover, has been staying in the guesthouse despite his office making several representations to the urban development ministry for early renovation of the house in central Delhi allotted to him.
However, the work undertaken by the Central Public Works Department has been moving very slowly despite reminders from security agencies that want to install gadgets to protect the former President, who faces threats from several militant groups, including Lashkar-e-Tayiba.
Sand and construction material were seen spread all over the house at 10 Rajaji Marg. CPWD officials at the spot were unwilling to say when the house would be ready for Kalam to move in.
The type-VIII duplex bunglow was shortlisted by Kalam in the second week of June so that authorities would have ample time to refurbish it.
Metal and wooden frames and debris were being still carried out of the house while its compound swarmed with labourers.
According to protocol, a former president has to be provided a house in Delhi if he chooses to reside here.
The same story holds true for Shekhawat, who resigned as vice president on July 22.
Shekhawat continues to stay at Rajasthan House as his new address -- 31, Aurangzeb Road in Lutyen's Delhi -- is still to be handed over to him.
The urban development ministry selected the three-bedroom bungalow as the next address of the former vice president after Shekhawat gave his nod.
The type-VIII building is built on a plinth area of 5,000 square feet and is an original Lutyen's bungalow with little additional construction.