Several Kashmir politicians were lodged at the hotel on the bank of the scenic Dal Lake on August 5 when the central government announced its decision to abrogate Jammu and Kashmir's special status under Article 370 of the Constitution and split the state into two Union territories. Centaur Lake View hotel held nearly 35 political prisoners which include Sajjad Lone of People's Conference (PC), Ali Mohammad Sagar of National Conference (NC), Naem Akhtar of the PDP and former IAS officer Shah Faesal.
According to the officials, privy to the development, Centaur Hotel, owned by the Indian Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC), has submitted a bill of nearly Rs 3 crore to the home department for over 100 days of boarding and lodging of the detenues. The administration has, however, rejected the claims of Centaur Hotel and argued that the facility was converted into a subsidiary jail on August 5 and therefore, government rates would be paid. The rates sanctioned by the administration would be around Rs 800 per day as against Rs 5,000 charged by the hotel.
As Srinagar reeled under harsh winter conditions, the Jammu and Kashmir administration shifted all prisoners to the MLA Hostel.
The administration carried out the required modification of rooms in the MLA Hostel in the heart of the city to accommodate the political prisoners. It was declared as a subsidiary jail by an order of the J-K home department.
The lockdown has cost Kashmir economy more than US Dollar 2.4 billion which roughly translates to Rs 24,000 lakhs. Tourism, for decades a mainstay of Kashmir’s economy has been badly hit.