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By: Mushtaq Hurra

Jammu and Kashmir is the most unique state of Indian domain with a prominent position. Here, I don’t want to apprise my readers about the favours and privileges granted to it by Indian Constitution rather I want to talk about its dual capital viz Srinagar and Jammu. Every year, the capital is shifted from Srinagar to Jammu during winters and from Jammu to Srinagar during summer. The biannual shifting of capital from one city to the other and vice versa is traditionally known as Darbar move.

Darbar move is not lesser than a grand royal tradition. Caravans of employees, vehicles laden with files and other necessary things occupy our only national highway which connects us with the rest of the country, for many days. Two way Traffic on our national highway is strictly prohibited for the smooth arrival of people to Jammu which adds miserably to the woes of commoners.

The practice has been a big burden on our state exchequer. Our economy which is already in limbo, faces the extra slaps of this transfer of capital from one region to the other. According to some estimates, the shifting of capital costs our state rupees 1.1 billion annually. This is not a small amount given the financial crisis our state is going through. This amount could have been used to boost our economic setup which largely depends on horticulture, agriculture and tourism. Everyone knows well that the conflict has not only effected our tourism industry which is considered to be the backbone of our economy but it has equally effected our horticulture as well. Thus, the traditional shifting of capital is a big leaky bucket which leaves our fragile economy into a deplorable state.

Given the climatic differences between the two capital cities of the hilly state, the crown is shifted from Srinagar to Jammu during winters, and the subsequent shifting leaves the whole Kashmir Crying and wailing for the disappearance of basic amenities. People in the winter capital feel apartheid and segregated because the administration seems to be the rulers of only one region. Shifting or transfer of capital in no terms means the step-motherly treatment with people here in the valley. Authorities at the helm of affairs probably forget this part of the state when they cross the Jawahar-tunnel to bask under the pleasant sun in Jammu. Darbar move takes away our most important required necessities during winters , leaving us at the mercy of Allah.

Electricity is the most important blessing of science and no human society can live without it. Given its wide range of uses, from domestic to industrial ones, the service is considered to be the jugular vein. It is as important as the blood is to body. Even, one can’t think of life without it. And the unprecedented and unparalleled electricity worse of Kashmir since early onset of winter, are known to all. Though the customers pay big tariffs to the power development department (PDD) but it miserably fails to live up to the expectations of the people. Common masses face hardships particularly the poor who can’t afford generators. Children, women, students and senior citizens face the brunt of it. Power development department fails to provide the services as per its scheduled curtailment program which irks the people.PDD officials most often produce the excuse of overloading. Even damaged transformers are not repaired for week’s togather. Kashmir homes display dark and gloomy looks during winters because the electricity disappears with the transfer of Darbar from Srinagar to Jammu, leaving the dwellers crying.

Water is another essential requirement of life and vitally important for smooth functioning of different domestic industrial purposes. The water supply facilities in Kashmir are no better than electricity facilities during winters. During the extreme cold, when people prefer to stay indoors, the scarcity of water disturbs their comfort zones. People are forced to venture out to fetch water for different purposes. The scenario is more deplorable in our rural belt where there is no one addresses the complaints of masses. Public health engineering (PHE) department evades the responsibility in the garb of no electricity and frozen pipes.

Our roads look shabby and encroached during winters Carts and mobile shops occupy our roads , leaving commuters irked. Even many shopkeepers extend the perches of their shops to the extent that people hardly manage to move from one spot to the other. Administration hardly bothers to clear these roads from encroachers because the Darbar takes away the accountability to Jammu. Even police prefers to warm their hands in their cosy rooms.

Another facet of Darbar move is more miserable. Red-tapism and official hegemony mounts during the winters. Even lower rung officers behave like Tzars in public offices, resulting in corruption and favouritism. Public grievance system weakens when Darbar moves to the other part of the state. This adds to the pains and agonies of people in the conflict hit cold region of the state.

People are forced to visit the capital city Jammu given the inadequate regulation of public grievances at Srinagar. Though  one or two Babus are assigned with the job to stay in the winter Secretariat here but they spend most of their time either in Jammu or somewhere else, away from Srinagar.

Thus, the official declaration of closure of civil Secretariat in Srinagar spreads a wave of disappointment among masses in Kashmir. Besides the deprivation of many basic amenities of life, people, here, are subjected to official apathy. I wish our government takes a lead. Our legislators should pass a legislation to end this one and a half century old tradition to save our state exchequer from this huge unnecessary expenditure. Though our government can’t dare to move the bill in the state assembly yet they should not leave the valley at the mercy of officers during harsh winters. Let us hope, the incumbent governor administration takes the exemplary required steps, and at least one advisor among the three stays here during winters, to make the public outreach accessible.

The writer is a teacher and can be reached at [email protected]


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