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Darbar opens in Srinagar

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Srinagar, May 07: Civil Secretariat, the seat of the Jammu and Kashmir government, opened here today after functioning in winter capital for six months as part of the nearly 150-year-old practice known in the state as ‘Darbar Move’.

Besides the Civil Secretariat, the other move offices, including Raj Bhawan, police headquarters and several commissions opened here this morning.

Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti inspected the traditional guard of honour given to her by a police contingent at the Civil Secretariat lawns.

The Chief Minister also inaugurated an additional block of 16 rooms at the Civil Secretariat to add to the space there.

Mehbooba Mufti later chaired a meeting of the Council of Ministers. The meeting took a comprehensive review of the law and order and developmental scenario in the state, an official press release informed.

It said a deputation of Coordination Committee of the employees also called on the Chief Minister and welcomed her on opening of Civil Secretariat offices after the Darbar Move.

The practice of the ‘Darbar Move’ — under which the State government functions in Jammu during six winter months and in Srinagar during summer — was started by Maharaja Gulab Singh in 1872 to escape extreme weather conditions in the two regions of the state.

The practice has continued since with the aim of providing governance benefits to both the Kashmir and Jammu regions of the state for six months by turns.

While Jammu and Srinagar cities benefit from this practice as the roads and other infrastructure get the basic minimum ‘ritualistic’ repairs done on annual basis, the ‘Darbar Move’ incurs expenditure of crores of rupees that could have been used for other productive activities every year.

The practice involves moving voluminous files between Jammu and Srinagar and thousands of employees between the two cities in hundreds of buses and trucks.

The employees who work in the move offices, as these offices are known in the state, get two weeks of free holidays and compensatory allowances twice every year.

Several political parties have in the past demanded scrapping the practice and instead establishing permanent offices both at Jammu and Srinagar.

Even the BJP, the coalition partner in the Jammu and  Kashmir government with the PDP, called for abandoning the ‘Darbar Move’ practice last year.

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