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Political detentions costs Rs 2.65 Cr to govt

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‘Political detainees to be shifted to MLA hostel’

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Srinagar: A day after Centaur Hotel asked Jammu and Kashmir Administration to pay Rs 2.65 crore incurred for boarding and lodging of political detainees, authorities have decided to shift the political detainees to Government owned MLA Hostel here in Srinagar.
Notably, the Centaur Hotel, that was converted into subsidiary jail is owned by Indian Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC) that recently sent a hefty bill to the administration asking it to pay the dues.
Official sources said that Deputy Commissioner Srinagar Dr Shahid Iqbal Chowdary along with SSP Srinagar Dr Haseeb Mughal visited the MLA Hostel to take stock of the facilities there. Deputy Commissioner Srinagar has directed the officials to ensure all facilities including heating arrangements be made available in the hostel.
Sources added that all arrangements have been finalized and within a day or two, all the political detainees lodged at Centaur Hotel will be shifted to the MLA Hostel.
Sources said that due to lack of arrangements at the Centaur Hotel, most of the political detainees have developed several ailments. They said every alternate day, authorities have to shift one or two political detainees to hospital for treatment.
Political detainees including Ali Muhammad Sagar, Nayeem Akhtar, SMC Deputy Mayor Sheikh Imran, Mubarak Gul, Yasir Reshi have been treated in different hospitals so far.
At present, there are at least 34 political detainees lodged at the Centaur Hotel. Some of the detainees including Imran Raza Ansari and Noor Muhammad have already been released after they signed a bond assuring authorities that they won’t hold any political protest or rally over the abrogation of Article 370.
Officials at the S K International Convention Centre (SKICC) — adjacent to the hotel — which has been converted into a Sub-jail said that they are also unable to hold programmes at the famed convention complex.
Besides this, they said the bills charged by the hotel are also a cause of concern. “The hotel has submitted a bill of Rs 2.65 crore to the Home Department to house these detainees for three months,” they said.
However, they said that the hotel will be paid as per the government rates. “The government was being charged somewhere around Rs 6000 to Rs 8000 per detainee, but only Rs 800 will be sanctioned,” they said.
They said two leaders are being kept in one room while they are served vegetarian food, with only one piece of chicken once a week.
Sources said the authorities were planning to shift the leaders to MLA hostel, but it is already occupied by some sarpanches and Councillor.
“The authorities are in talks with different hotels, particularly in cantonment area in Srinagar,” they added. (With inputs from KNT)

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