Despite positive signals about the formation of a government by the ruling PDP-BJP coalition partners in the state, the Estate Department on Wednesday served eviction notices to all former cabinet ministers as well as ministers of state to vacate their respective government bungalows within a week, official sources said. The move has fuelled speculations about further delays in government formation.
The estate department, which allocates bungalows to ministers and residential quarters to officers, has served the notice to 24 former ministers, including 16 cabinet ministers.
The state has been under Governor’s Rule since January 8, after the death of the former CM Mufti Mohammad Sayeed. His daughter, People’s Democratic Party (PDP) president Mehbooba Mufti, had said there needs to be more confidence-building-measures (CBMs) by the BJP-led NDA before any possible government formation.
These former ministers have, in fact, over stayed in their government bungalows. Rules state that ministers can stay in their allocated bungalows for a maximum period of one month after the government ceases to exist, in this case, February 8.
“As per the allotment rules of the estate department as person is entitled to hold government accommodation, including ministerial bungalow, up to month after relinquishing/ceasing to hold office and this period has expired,” the notice issued by deputy director estates, Satish Kumar Sharma, said.
He added that as ex-ministers are also MLAs, they would be given alternate accommodation as per their ‘entitlement’.
PDP president Mehbooba Mufti had already vacated the chief ministerial residence allotted to Mufti Sayeed at Jammu. She has an official residence at Srinagar as an MP and in Jammu she stays at government guest house during her visits.