>Nam flats parliament’s; allotment can’t be cancelled now: Speaker

>SPEAKER Jamiruddin Sircar in a letter to the chief adviser yesterday said the 324 Nam flats are parliament’s property and it is not possible now to cancel allotments to former lawmakers of the eighth parliament as asked by the housing and public works ministry. (Click for full story)
The House Committee, responsible for accommodating parliamentarians, allotted the flats to MPs for staying until the results of the ninth parliamentary elections. Since the committee is not in place, it is not possible to cancel the allotment now, the Speaker said.
He made two suggestions to the chief adviser in case it becomes necessary to settle the issue. The first is to arrange an “arbitration” involving Parliament Secretariat, housing ministry and eight ex-MPs of BNP, Awami League, Jatiya Party and Jamaat-e-Islami with the law adviser as the arbitrator.
The second suggestion is seeking opinion of the judges of the Supreme Court Appellate Division through the president in line with article 106 of the constitution, Sircar told The Daily Star last night.
The Speaker sent the latter after receiving a letter from the housing ministry on March 19. The letter asked the Parliament Secretariat to cancel all allotments of Nam flats to lawmakers of the eighth parliament by March 31.
The 324 flats, constructed in 2001 for Nam (Non-Aligned Movement) summit, were allotted to the MPs in June 2005 and the Parliament Secretariat was given charge of the flats. Now, 183 flats are occupied by ex-lawmakers and their families.
The March 19 letter also asked the Parliament Secretariat to direct the former lawmakers to request Directorate of Government Accommodation for fresh allotment and pay increased rents, Tk 20,000 a month for a 1,250sqft furnished flat and Tk 25,000 for a 1,800sqft one in stead of Tk 400 and Tk 500.
Housing and public works ministry officials claimed the government handed them the charge of the flats on June 19 for temporarily renting them to government officials.
However, the Speaker referring to his letter said, “I have made it clear that the 324 flats are the property of parliament… When SSF [Special Security Forces] asked the ministry for a number of flats, the ministry asked them to request the Parliament Secretariat mentioning the flats had been handed over to parliament.”


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