‘Freedom fighters may have to pay more’

Freedom fighters enjoying cheap accommodation in a government facility during a visit to the national capital have reasons to worry.

The Union Home Ministry has warned them that continued stay in Freedom Fighters House on Baba Kharak Singh Marg, which leads to Connaught Place, beyond the stipulated time may result in “complete stoppage” of pension or recovery from pension amount.

The Ministry has come up with fresh guidelines earlier this month for admission in the facility where accommodation at cheap rates is available for the freedom fighters.

The guidelines comes, as it has been felt that due to “certain incidents and instances of continuous long stay by certain freedom fighters”, there is a necessity to have certain condition for admission at the facility. The Home Ministry, however, refused to elaborate on “certain incidents” that led to the fresh directions.

Officials said overstay is causing problems as they are not able to accommodate others who reach Delhi for various.

Freedom fighters eligible for ‘Central Samman Pension’, their spouses and daughters, who are getting the pension, are eligible for stay in the Freedom Fighters’ House. However, from now on, “no permanent or long stay” will be allowed.

It said the freedom fighters could stay for a maximum of 15 days at a stretch for free while for a medical visit, they can stay up to 30 days, after which they will be charged at a higher rate.

For first 15 days, freedom fighters can stay for free but will have to pay Rs 100 per day as room rent and Rs 50 per meal for stay between 15 and 30 days.

“If they overstay beyond 30 days, they shall be charged Rs 1,000 per day and no meals shall be served,” the Ministry document said.

For spouses and daughters, the room rent is Rs 100 per day for first seven days besides Rs 50 per meal. If the stay is beyond a week, they will be charged a room rent of Rs 2,000 per day and no meals will be served.

For other invitees, the room rent will be Rs 200 per day for five days and Rs 50 per meal, “after which they will be evicted”.

However, the Ministry said the freedom fighters or their dependents can come for any work and not necessarily relating to medical treatment. “They need not submit any request through state government or any affidavit to get a booking in the Freedom Fighters’ Home,” it said.

“Any unpaid bill shall be recovered from the pension of the pensioner,” it added.

(An edited version appeared in Deccan Herald on Oct 29, 2014)

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