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Darbar reopens in Jammu amid tight security

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Good governance should be touchstone of administrative processes at all levels: LG

Jammu: The Civil Secretariat, the seat of the Jammu and Kashmir administration, reopened in Jammu on Monday as part of the biannual ‘Darbar Move’ after functioning in Srinagar during the summer season.

The nearly 150-year-old practice was started by Maharaja Gulab Singh in 1872 to escape the summer heat of Jammu and the cold winters in Srinagar.

Tight security arrangements have been put in place to ensure smooth functioning of the civil secretariat and other move offices, including the Raj Bhavan and the police headquarters in Jammu, officials said.

Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha arrived at the Civil Secretariat and inspected the guard of honour in the presence of Director General of Police Dilbag Singh as part of the practice of reopening the Darbar Move offices.

The government spends crores of rupees to shift between the two capital cities twice a year, besides paying a similar amount as allowance to the several thousand employees, who shift bases with the government.

The COVID-19 pandemic delayed the Darbar Move from Jammu to Srinagar this summer. The Civil Secretariat and other move offices, which observe a five-day week, closed in Srinagar on October 30, while the offices observing six-day weeks closed the next day.

Meanwhile, Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha said good governance should be the touchstone of the administrative processes at all levels in the union territory of Jammu and Kashmir.

As the ‘Darbar Move’ offices resumed their functioning in the winter capital, Sinha on Monday visited the civil secretariat here and received the ceremonial guard of honour.

Later he chaired a meeting of the senior officials.

According to an official press release, he exhorted the officials to restore people’s faith by simplifying and speeding up the processes of government services and the timely execution of developmental programmes.

“Implement best practices of good governance and serve people with accountable, transparent, and responsible governance,” he added.

“Good governance should be the touchstone of the administrative processes at all levels,” Sinha said.

The LG laid specific thrust on important public issues like saturation of beneficiary-oriented schemes, speeding up the coverage under the J&K health scheme, reaching out to the people with all the basic amenities, completion of PMDP-iconic and languishing projects, prompt redressal of public grievances, effective implementation of youth outreach activities among other issues.

He directed the senior officers present during the meeting to ensure that free and fair DDC elections are held across the union territory.

Terming effective public delivery service and grievance redressal mechanisms as cornerstones of people-centric governance, he advised the officers to stay well versed with the issues of the people, avoid unnecessary delays and ensure speedy redressal of public issues and grievances.

Sinha also stressed upon the proper maintenance of records and files.

He stressed upon the need to provide sustained handholding and giving a determined push to key sectors like agriculture and allied services, industries, tourism and sports for achieving better results on the ground.

The LG also reviewed the arrangements being made for the smooth functioning of ‘move offices’ and further enquired about the facilities being made available at the government accommodations allotted to the ‘move employees’.

He asked the officers to ensure the strict adherence of COVID-related SOPs and advisories in the civil secretariat.

Stressing on zero tolerance for corruption, Sinha advised the administrative secretaries and heads of departments to keep a close vigil on the functioning of their respective departments and take requisite measures to improve their departments’ working.

“Work at grassroots-level and reach out to the people to address their genuine concerns,” he added.

The LG also asked the officers concerned to be quick and responsive in their efforts during the times of medical emergencies and while rendering critical help in any contingent situation to minimise the difficulties of common people.

In view of the ensuing winter season, the LG also reviewed the preparations and stressed on ensuring proper availability of power and water supply, availability of public utilities like ration, medicines, maintenance of all necessary stocks including dry ration, availability of transformers and other basic amenities and essential supplies, especially in snowbound and far-flung areas.

The LG went around various sections and complexes of the civil secretariat and enquired about the well-being of the officers and staff members.

He also took stock of the working in the offices of various departments.

Atal Dulloo, Financial Commissioner, Health and Medical Education Department; Nitishwar Kumar, Principal Secretary to the Lt Governor; administrative secretaries; divisional commissioner Jammu; deputy commissioner Jammu; IGP Jammu and other senior officers were present on the occasion.

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