JK House ‘inaccessible’ for common Kashmiris

KT NEWS SERVICE. Dated: 3/25/2014 12:10:04 PM

Successive Govts failed to go for an expansion plan

SRINAGAR, Mar 24: The Jammu and Kashmir House in Delhi run by department of Hospitality and Protocol has become an inaccessible facility for the common state subjects particularly for the patients who are being referred to Delhi for treatment.
According to a news gathering agency KNS, a significant number of complaints have alleged favoritism and preferential treatment with different kinds of visitors. “If you have a high level approach, a recommendation from a cabinet minister, or Member Parliament then only you can be allotted some space that too after waiting for long hours in the House,” said Altaf Ahmad from Kawdara-old city who was accompanying a patient referred to Delhi for a specialised treatment.
Various complainants have said that even if they are allotted any rooms after waiting for days together, there are no facilities available to the guests. “The primary and important requirement of the people arriving in Delhi is accommodation. But I will appeal to the people not to visit Delhi with their patients keeping JK House Delhi in their mind. This can prove a nightmare for them,” Mir Bilal (name changed), working in education department has told the news agency.
Despite a huge outcry over the scarcity of accommodation for the state subjects in JK House in Delhi, the successive governments have failed to take an initiative for expansion plans utilising the state land in Delhi. Some disappointed complainants also allege that the officials of the JK House in Delhi accommodate the political families or those who have a recommendation from any minister or a top bureaucrat.
“Suppose if you are lucky enough to get accommodated, you will have to wait for hours together in the JK House Delhi to have some food. There are no waiters, no cooks and for that matter, it is better to have lunch and dinner outside the House as you can waste your time waiting in the dining hall,” a female complainant told KNS, pleading anonymity.
Situated in Chankya Puri, New Delhi, the JK House has three Blocks, A B and C comprising of 57 rooms, four VIP suits and 38 residential quarters. Jammu and Kashmir state has over a hundred Kanals of land at Raja Ji Marg which has been leased out to Military Engineering Wing, the Ministry of Defence-Government of India. Only one acre of land with old structures thereon is in the possession of the State Government. This premises has 56 quarters in which the staff of the Resident Commission and other State Government offices is housed, reads the posts available on the official website of the hospitality and protocol department.
It may be recalled that on March 22, last year Amrit Malhotra Legislative Council chairman had ordered for constituting a House Committee to review the functioning of Jammu and Kashmir guest houses. The order had come, after a Congress member pointed out to accommodation crises for people of Jammu and Kashmir outside the state. Members cutting across the party lines had voiced concern over the present system in J&K houses, particularly in JK House Chankaypuri New-Delhi.
During his supplementary, Jahangir Mir, the Congress member while referring to the JK House Chanakyapuri, New Delhi had said that in Block-C, the patients and their attendants get accommodation only on availability. Another Congress Party member in legislative council Ghulam Nabi Monga had alleged that there is no upkeep in JK House at Chanakyapuri. "There is no cleanliness, acute shortage of manpower there. How is government planning to improve the facilities in JK House Chanakyapuri? Whether government is planning to build an additional block here?” he had questioned. But over a year has passed and the government is mum on the issue.
When contacted, Vikar Rasool, the minister incharge Hospitality and Protocol said: “There is an expansion plan to meet the accommodation requirements of the people of the state. We have already identified the land for new blocks at Rajaji Marag near Chanakyapuri where some 17 Kanals of land is in our possession and we are now trying to accommodate the JK House staff which a prerequisite for starting any expansion plan.”
When asked about favoritism in allotment of accommodation in JK House, Vikar said: ‘No I don’t think so. It is all because of huge rush and the paucity of space in JK House. The existing accommodation is not sufficient to cater to the growing needs of the visitors arriving in the capital from Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh regions for different purposes, particularly for advanced treatment.”



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