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Friday, November 24, 2006

Cops use naxal alibi to evade eviction

Cops use naxal alibi to evade eviction
aditya.ghosh@hindustantimes.com
HYDERABAD: In a desperate attempt to maintain base in Hyderabad, IPS officers ordered to vacate their government accommodations in the city are citing a threat issued by a naxalite leader — to target families of cops — to retain their houses. Many of them have even made representations to the general administration department (GAD) and the chief secretary. The policemen, along with IAS and Indian Forest Service (IFS) officials, have been been asked to relinquish their houses if they are not posted in Hyderabad anymore. The government order follows a Supreme Court directive to vacate houses by November 15. But despite government notices, the D-Day has passed with virtually nobody complying. Estate wing officials entrusted with the task of evicting them plead helplessness. "Since their representations are lying with the chief secretary, we cannot just hurry them out,"an official said. As many as 35 officials are occupying government houses in city but most are unwilling to pay the market rent despite living in areas such as Punjagutta and Banjara Hills. Sometimes officials are permitted to overstay in their official accommodations on payment of a rent that's below the market rents but higher than the usual low rents charged by the government. Their excuse: Government salaries are not enough to pay market rents. The naxalite whose name IPS officers are invoking to stay put in the city is Nallamalla district committee secretary Pratap alias Sagar. He is alleged to have threatened that the Maoists would target even the families of police officers and politicians. The threat came following the elimination of several naxalite leaders in recent months. "It is quite apparent that these officials conferred among themselves and decided to refer to the threat in their representations,"a source said. A senior officer posted in the districts but with a government accommodation in the city said his family was making a sacrifice by staying in Hyderabad without him. "I do not have an own house or a plot in Hyderabad,"he wrote in his representation. But it's a representation made by a district collector that takes the cake. To retain the house, he cited his wife's ill-health and her job as a teacher in a "school recognised by the AP government".

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