Twenty five media-persons are presently staying in Central government provided type-4, type-5 and type-6 government flats in the national capital.
As per the response shared by the Directorate of Estates, Ministry of Urban Development, to an RTI query filed by me, all these flats are situated in posh areas like RK Puram, Pandara road, Bapa nagar,Kaka nagar,Hudco Place Extension and Andrews Ganj Extension.
Some of these bungalows were allotted to the journalists as far back as the 1970s and 1980s.
Officials in the Urban Development ministry said that the allotment of government flats to journalists are rare and is based on the discretion of the incumbent minister. “In Delhi, there is always a shortage of government accommodations for the government officials who have the first claim over such accommodations hence it is in rare cases that a government accommodation is given to a media person. Unless and until the concerned minister really wishes for the allotment of the flats to a media persons, the government flats are very rarely allotted to them”, an official with the directorate of estate said.
Interestingly, in December 2012, the Supreme Court in an order, had asked the government to make sure some of these journalists vacate the ‘illegally occupied government bungalows’ as they had overstayed their entitlement. The Supreme Court had given the order after the National Green Tribunal, which approached the Supreme Court, presenting its problem regarding non availability of a suitable accommodation for it to function from, after which the SC asked the government to act.
However, more than 4 years later, some of the journalists, who were required to vacate the government accommodation, still continue to stay in those flats.
Very few of the journalists who are staying in these accommodations are working for a mainstream publication.
One of them brings out a Hindi daily from Ghaziabad, while another journalist is working for a local news channel. A journalist from a south Indian magazine has been staying the flat for the past 13 years, another journalist of a Chennai based magazine ‘Junior Vikatan’ was allotted the flat in 2006. A journalist with "Spot films' too was given the flat in 2003. A reporter with ‘Amrit Sandhesh’ newspaper that is published by the family of Congress treasurer Motilal Vora, was allotted the flat in 2006. Similarly a representative of SUN TV was given the flat in 2006. One such flat is in the possession of a reporter from Amar Ujala newspaper. A reporter from Andhra Prabha, a Telugu newspaper, too was given the flat in 2006. A cameraman with ‘Asian Film TV’ was allotted the flat in 2003.