J&K spends Rs. 19, 858 lakhs annually on regal custom of Darbar Move
Srinagar: As the economically deprived Jammu and Kashmir is battling the COVID 19 pandemic with its “limited” resources, a large expenditure approximating rupees 19, 858 lakhs continues to be consumed by its annual Darbar Move custom, reveals a JK Finance Department report.
The financial expenditure entailed in the movement of 10, 112 employees including gazetted, non gazetted and class IV, along the Darbar Move during 2019 touched rupees 19858.4298 mark, the report disclosed.
The shifting does not rest at a simple physical movement of the personnel. It is done at a huge cost.
If calculated for the 73 years period since accession of the Muslim dominated princely state of J&K by Maharaja Hari Singh to Indian union in 1947, the expenditure reaches a staggering figure of Rs. 1,449,665.3754 lakhs.
Can J&K afford the expenditure (as disclosed and many more hundreds of crores of rupees of undisclosed) costs to sustain and perpetuate an arrangement of bi-annual shifting of its capital two times a year, ask experts.
The practice of the Darbar originated in 1872 from the discomfort of the then ruler of Jammu and Kashmir with the harshness of the winter in Kashmir and the sweltering heat of Jammu in summers.
Almost six weeks are lost in closing, opening, and shifting of the top administrative machinery of the now union territory every year. But the Darbar employees have to be paid for all these six weeks for which no work is done in the Secretariat. The amount comes to Rs.6952.338 lakhs on this head.
On each Darbar, a move allowance equivalent to Rs. 50,000/- is paid per annum to the persons involved in this practice, a vestige of the Dorga shahi rule.
It may be noted the move allowance has increased periodically from Rs.6,000/- in 2011; Rs.10,000/- in 2015; and Rs.15,000/- in 2018 and Rs.25,000/- thereafter.
The payment does not end with the above lump sum amount. A Temporary Move Allowance of Rs. 2,000/- per month (bringing the amount of this allowance to a total of Rs. 24,000/- annually to each person) is also paid to each moving employee.
The actual expenditure on this count ultimately accumulates to Rs.75000/- per employee, says the report.
Huge sums are expended by the government on accommodation, transportation and security of the move employees in the twin capital cities of the erstwhile state.
Contrarily doctors and paramedics in various hospitals in March staged protests over alleged sub-standard Personal Protective Equipments being provided to them while attending to coronavirus infected patients.
There have also been reports that many economically underprivileged people are finding it hard to meet their ends due to the joblessness amid an unrelenting lockdown.
However government continues to spend a considerable part of its budgetary allocations to perpetuate a regal custom. The darbar has partially been opened in Kashmir on 3rd of this month.