An investigation held by The Indian Express found that a government canteen was demolished to construct the new office for BJP leader Vijay Goel, which costs Rs 1.09 crore. He took charge as the minister of state for statistics and programme five months ago. It was found that a government office canteen in Sardar Patel Bhavan, New Delhi was demolished to build the office. It was the only staff canteen in the five-storey building.
“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 a senior officer of the Central Public Works Department (CPWD).
A CPWD note accessed by The Indian Express stated: “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.”
When asked about the allegations, Goel told to The Indian Express that he was not aware that the construction would cost over Rs 1 crore or a staff canteen had been demolished for the construction purpose.
“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 of 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,” said Goel.
A senior officer in the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) said that Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances (DARPG) issued a Memorandum against the move to replace the canteen with Goel’s new office.
The report indicates that the canteen was catering hundreds of employees in the building and it has temporarily shifted to the ground floor, near the parking area. Rs 52 lakh was spent for modernising the canteen in 2016-17. The new office will be ready by the end of this month.