New Delhi: The threat of eviction looms over two of Delhi’s prominent journalists’ clubs – Indian Women Press Corps (IWPC) and the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of South Asia (FCC) – based in Lutyens’ Delhi after their leases expired on July 31.
Senior officials of the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA) told ThePrint that the Directorate of Estates (DoE), a department under the ministry that deals with the allocation and renewal of the lease of government bungalows in Delhi, has not renewed their lease. .
“The lease of IWPC and FCC has not been renewed. There is so far no evidence to allocate an alternative space to the two clubs,” a senior official, who declined to be named, told ThePrint.
Both journalist clubs are based on prime real estate – home to the capital’s power elite. While IWPC’s office is located at 5 Windsor Place on Ashoka Road, the FCC operates from Bungalow No AB-19 on Mathura Road.
The DoE last extended the lease of the two journalist clubs for a short period on May 4, until the end of July. The department had sent both a reminder to find suitable accommodation on or before July 31 and to vacate the premises.
Sources at the ministry said it was unlikely that the rent of these two first-class bungalows would be renewed at a time when it was under pressure to accommodate new ministers, MPs and senior officials due to limited housing.
“There is a shortage of space to accommodate all claimants to state bungalows in Lutyens’ Delhi,” the official admitted.
Founded in 1994, the IWPC is the first association of women journalists in India. It was founded by 18 female journalists, but today its membership is over 800.
“Our lease expired yesterday. So far we have heard nothing from the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs. But we are hopeful that our lease will be renewed again,” Sobhana Jain, IWPC president, told ThePrint.
Founded in 1958 by foreign journalists working in India, the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of South Asia is a group of more than 500 journalists and photographers from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Nepal, the Maldives, Afghanistan and Tibet .
Munish Gupta, FCC South Asia press officer, told ThePrint that he or the club’s board of directors would not comment on the matter.
An FCC member, who declined to be named, said members hoped the government would renew the lease. “The clubs received a preferential allocation against subsidized rent. It is not possible for FCC or IWPC to run the club after renting a prime Delhi property at competitive rates. It’s a special place where journalists come to network and work,” said the FCC member.
Narendra Modi’s government has been very careful to show those who are not entitled to official bungalows the way out. Even former ministers of the NDA government have not been spared.
Since March, the DoE has forcibly evicted former ministers or caused them to vacate bungalows they occupied, despite not holding a ministerial post.
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