Spacious apartments, and an address to flaunt – government accommodations have a magnetic pull that can make people latch on to them. And it is not just the politicians who will do anything to retain such accommodations; retired government employees have joined their ranks too.
It has contended that many such officials also have their own personal residence in the same city, yet they continue to retain the concessional government flats even after retirement. This racket has probably been going on for years, even here in Press enclave.
The lack of action against these retired officials is causing huge loss to the public exchequer as well as the deserving newspapers, who are paying lakhs to private accommodations.
Hundreds of newspapers have been waiting for official accommodation in Press enclave, that too for decades, but unfortunately these unauthorised occupants are not asked to vacate these government quarters.
The administration had recently said there are huge complaints of illegal occupation of government accommodation by political workers, former ministers, ex-legislators, retired officials and journalists in twin cities of Jammu and Srinagar and several of them have huge arrears of rent pending against them. As per J&K government order number 169- GAD of 2004, permissible period for retention of the official residential accommodation is one month since the completion of term as legislator and two month in case of death of the allottee, but unfortunately these orders are limited only up to to the papers, as former legislators, government employees are occupying the government accommodation even after years.
Two months ago former chief minister and National Conference leader Omar Abdullah recently announced that he was voluntarily vacating the government accommodation provided to him 18 years ago due to the change in rules of entitlement in the Union Territory. While in other states chief ministers are supposed to vacate their official residence at the end of their tenure, in J&K, they could retain them, owing to security reasons, thanks to the government for not taking any tough against against them.
It seems that, the government is unwilling to depute watchmen to look after these accommodations. We hope government takes this seriously and enforces the directives to such people to vacate their government accommodation as soon as possible.