Sonia Gandhi, Manmohan Singh not safe even at home in Delhi

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Sonia Gandhi and Manmohan Singh
New Delhi, Sept 2: Sonia Gandhi and Manmohan Singh are not even safe at their own residences in New Delhi. Despite tremendous security arrangements, the two leaders may land in trouble if earthquake hits the national capital.

Central Public Works Department (CPWD) released a report which says 500 VIP addresses including Prime Minister and UPA Chairperson's residences are vulnerable to an earthquake-like calamity.

A report published in the daily DNA quoted one CPWD official as saying, "These bungalows were constructed between 1920 and 1930 to cater to the British and last for 30 years at the most. However, we have tried to maintain them for a 100 years now."

The CPWD official also informed that Manmohan Singh was told that his residence at 7 RCR was structurally unsafe. The CPWD also had spent Rs 7 crore in renovating his bungalow when the PM had moved into the new house.

The report, which was tabled in the Parliament during the monsoon session, says, "A complete survey of Lutyens' Bungalow Zone (LZB) bungalows with reference to their structural safety vis-a-vis the latest IS code for earthquake-resistant structures has been undertaken."

Sonia, Manmohan not safe

"Most of the bungalows were found to be unsafe. The matter has been reported to the MoUD. It has been proposed to take up redevelopment of LZB bungalows in a phased manner," added the report.

The PM and Sonia Gandhi were not alone in the list which shows which houses are vulnerable to earthquake-like calamities. Residences of the Vice-President and several other cabinet ministers also have been enlisted in the report.

A cost of Rs 3,000 crore has been estimated by the CPWD to renovate the 500 VIP addresses and the money would be spent in a phased manner in 30 years. The official, while speaking to the daily, said that the amount, which has been estimated for the renovation works, is a lot more than what would be needed to construct the structures afresh.

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