Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad vacates government bungalow as soon as J&K becomes a Union Territory
Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad has vacated his government bungalow located in the VVIP area of Srinagar. This move came after Jammu and Kashmir was made a Union Territory and the Presidential promuglation for this came into effect from October 31st midnight. With this all the laws applicable to union terrotiries will now be applicable to Jammu and Kashmir.
Other prominent politicians including National Conference leader Omar Abdullah and PDP leader Mehbooba Mufti will also have to vacate their government bungalows soon. Ghulam Nabi Azad was given the guest house of Jammu and Kashmir Bank located on Srinagar's Gupkar Road for free by the government.
However, after the formation of the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir came into effect, politicians as also the citizens in the new union terrotiry will come directly under the purview of the orders of the Supreme Court of India. The Supreme Court has already ordered that former Chief Ministers or any politician who holds a constitutional post cannot live in government bungalows for a lifetime. All such politicians now will also have to vacate their government bungalows after they demit their constitutional posts.
Omar and Mehbooba spent Rs 50 crore on renovation of bungalows
Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti continue to live in government bungalows allocated to them by the erstwhile government of Jammu and Kashmir. According to a report in Times of India, both have spent around Rs. 50 crore on renovation of their bungalows. Apart from these grand bungalows, the former Chief Ministers also got many other government facilities even after they did not hold any posts in the government.
Former Chief Ministers got government allowance for life
All former Chief Ministers of Jammu and Kashmir till now used to get facilities of government car, driver, petrol, medical and government accommodation even after they demitted their office. They also used to get Rs 35,000 per year for residential expenses, Rs 48,000 per year for telephone services and Rs 1500 per month for electricity.
In May 2018, the Supreme Court quashed the order allowing all former Chief Ministers from staying in government bungalows for a lifetime. But former CMs of J&K continued to occupy government bungalows as the SC order was not applicable to the state due to Article 370 being in force. Now with the formation of the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir and amendment to Article 370, the order of the Supreme Court will now come into force here. All former chief ministers and politicians will now have to vacate government housing soon.