Given accommodation, food to political leaders, security personnel during Municipal, Panchayat polls in 2018, Govt. fails to release payments to Anantnag hoteliers

Tasaduq Rashid
Anantnag, Oct 11 (KNS): Three hoteliers of south Kashmir’s Anantnag district on Sunday said that non-payment of their long pending bills by Government of J&K might lead to their self immolation, saying they had become borrowers of several business units who had lodged FIRs against them due to proving bankrupt.
Speaking to Kashmir News Service (KNS), proprietors of Universal Hotel & Restaurant, Friends Plaza Hotel & Restaurant and Jannat Hotel & Restaurant of Khanabal Anantnag narrated their ordeal and pathetic approach of Government of Jammu and Kashmir who has failed so far to release their payment against owning their hotels for providing accommodation and mess to political leaders and others in year 2018.
“As Government of J&K was all set to conduct Municipal and Panchayat elections across J&K, the then Deputy Commissioner (DC) Anantnag who was also a District Election Officer (DEO), in a formal communiqué ordered us to provide accommodation along with mess facilities to political leaders, their security staff, panchs, sarpanchs, ward officers and councilors”, hoteliers said.
They said, “Soon elections culminated, we communicated to concern Deputy Commissioners office for payment of our services but despite transfers and postings of four Deputy Commissioners including Mohammad Younis Malik, Khalid Jehangir, Bashir Ahmad Dar and KK Sidha in Anantnag, our bills are gathering dust in an undisclosed office which is not in our reach”.
As per hoteliers they had borrowed several services from other contractors and business units whose payment is still lying with us. They said the total amount of bill was 1,15,75,220 rupees among which major portion has been borrowed from several business units who are now demanding their money.
“The pathetic approach on part of Government and long delay in payment has made us to suffer badly. Our families are in trauma. We had put our whole capital at stake. Those who gave us money on account had lodged FIRs against us”, they said.
Notably proprietors of Universal Hotel & Restaurant, Friends Plaza Hotel & Restaurant and Jannat Hotel & Restaurant are well educated and have stated their businesses after getting huge loans from leading financial institutions but the non-payment of their bills since 2018 have left them along with their families in mental distress. They said if Government will further delay in release of payments, they have no choice except self-immolation as their credibility in the market has been badly affected.
They said we are not stagnant but made repeated representations to concern Deputy Commissioner who took up the matter with Divisional Commissioner Kashmir under Letter No. DEO/Anantnag/2019, 1403-05 dated 26.06.2019 for arrangement of funds. They also said that after no action was taken on the said representation, they further approached LG’s Advisor Baseer Khan on 21.09.2019 for redressal of issue.
It is pertinent to mention here that the said hoteliers had also met Khursheed Ahmad Ganaie, Advisor to Governor (SP Malik) on June 08, 2019 for attending the prolonged issue.
“On 12.11.2018, Divisional Commissioner Kashmir wrote a letter to Special Secretary to Chief Secretary J&K for taking note why payment was not made in time. The matter further took up by Div Com on 17.01.2020 to Principal Secretary for arrangement of funds but no action has been taken so far, rather bills are gathering dust to an undisclosed office”, they said.
As per reports, the incumbent Deputy Commissioner (DC) Anantnag KK Sidha has shown cordial approach towards the matter and had shot a letter to Div Com on 24.06.2020 for early resolve of matter vide Letter No. DEO Accounts/110-111. Besides the hoteliers recently met Advisor Farooq Khan who passed on the matter to Deputy Commissioner Anantnag.
But overall the resolution of matter seems to be prolonged due to non-seriousness of officials within the Government who have forced the hoteliers to move from pillar to post.
As per reports reaching to KNS, the resolution of matter, i.e. payment of bills lies within the Home Department which is authorized to release the payment against the services hoteliers provided in 2018.
Hoteliers appealed Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha to kindly intervene into the matter and release their long pending payment, saying if payment will not be released without further delay, hoteliers have no choice left except to end their lives as huge delay in payment has taken heavy toll to their credibility in the market. (KNS) 

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