Around 9,000 Government employees move annually with the Durbar move between Srinagar and Jammu. They have to be provided with residential accommodation. We are not aware whether providing Government accommodation is mandated by the constitution or nor but feeling the necessity of smooth and efficient running of administration, the State authorities, taking the human aspect of the issue into consideration is trying to provide accommodation to as many employees as possible. Providing accommodation to Government employees connected with the Durbar move became essential with the rise of militancy in the State that imperilled security of employees.
Durbar move continues and year after year the number of functionaries is added to the total number. There are three types of accommodation which the Estates Department is providing them at present viz. (a) Government quarters (b) accommodation in private houses and bungalows and (c) hotel/house boat accommodation provided by the Government. By and large, it is the fundamental policy of the Estates Department to make the functionaries’ stays comfortable and safe security-wise. Out of around 9000 move employees, the Estates Department is in a position to provide accommodation to 3291 employees in its residential colonies and around 1000 employees are provided hotel accommodation in Jammu while as around 3000 employees are provided hotel accommodation in Srinagar where the number of residential units is much limited. The figures show that despite whatever efforts Estates Department is making to provide accommodation there is a big deficient gap between the demand and supply.
It has been a good idea that the deptt should build a large number of flats and some bungalows also of its own so that it can save crores of rupees paid by way of rent to private accommodation. Multiple construction schemes for the cities of Srinagar and Jammu were considered by the Government. There was a proposal for construction of 222 flats at Jawahar Nagar in Srinagar under Public Private Partnership (PPP) mode by dismantling 65 existing quarters. Similarly there was a proposal to construct 288 flats under PPP mode by way of dismantling 58 C-type quarters at Gandhi Nagar in Jammu. However, none of these proposals has become reality till date because of non-seriousness at all the concerned quarters in the Government. The question of increasing residential quarters/flats was raised in the legislature several times but to no effect because each time funding constraint was expressed as the main reason for not proceeding with the schemes. At one point of time it was also stated that some towers both at Jawahar Nagar and Gandhi Nagar would be earmarked for the accommodation of legislators.
None of these proposals ever could see the light of the day. The Government never showed seriousness in these projects and consequently did not make any specific provision of budget for raising the flats so that the problem of paying crores of rupees by way of rent to private accommodation could be saved. Huge amounts going down the drain by way of rent could have been saved and utilized for the welfare of the employees of the public. That is not the case. We don’t think that the Estates Department will be able to break the jinx in near future and the stalemate will continue for a long time unless the Government brings the matter under priority cover and takes special measures to raise funds for the purpose.