‘Staffers ruling the roost’
New Delhi, Dec 8, CNS: A day after State Human Rights Commission directed one of its members to inspect the JK House in Delhi in wake of the miserable conditions prevailing there, the authorities at the helm of affairs according to occupants started a cleaning drive in the Block C, apparently to ‘hoodwink’ the member of the commission who is scheduled to visit the House in coming days.
“The authorities hired some labourers to make the room’s spick and span while insecticides were used to get rid of bed-bugs. People from the State staying here have hailed the action of Chairman SHRC. The common people staying here are being treated as cattle. It has really become a dominion of former ministers and their kith and kin including the legislators with the common masses being shown the door,” a group of people from Valley presently staying in JK House told news agency CNS over phone from Delhi.
They said that this House is not for common people as few staffers who have been posted here decades ago rule the roost and they have turned it into a VIP centre. “The influential and well-to-do people are camping here at the government expenses with common people mostly patients and attendants from Jammu and Kashmir left in lurch.
An ailing elderly woman from Rajouri said that she was not provided accommodation given the fact she had applied for the same through Hospitality and Protocol Department.
A Journalist from Srinagar city presently staying there said that the Block C of the JK House has turned into a slum. “There were some people who vacated their rooms during mid night due to presence of rats and bed-bugs. If somebody tries to attract the attention of any staffer towards the bugs and rats, he is asked to vacate the room,” said an occupant.
Located 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. The 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, informs the official website of the Hospitality and Protocol Department.
It may be recalled that on March 22, 2013 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 crisis 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.
Those who prefer to stay at JK House claimed that employees posted there have not been transferred for years as a result these employees have become dictators there. “The Hospitality and Protocol Department is looked by the Chief Minister but successive Chief Ministers ignored and cared a fig for the affairs of the JK House,” they said.
The repeated attempts to contact the concerned authorities at the JK House New Delhi were not established. (CNS)