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Darbar Move deferred due to spike in COVID cases in J&K: Govt ‘Secretariat to function through e-Office at Jammu & Srinagar simultaneously’

Jammu: The Jammu and Kashmir government on Thursday deferred the biannual Darbar Move to Srinagar saying that the civil secretariat, which is the seat of the Union Territory administration, shall function both in Srinagar and Jammu cities.

As part of the biannual Darbar Move and the civil secretariat’s shift, other move offices and the Raj Bhavan were scheduled to close in Jammu on April 30 to May 01 and set to begin functioning in the summer capital from May 10.

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

“In view of sharply rising cases of COVID in J&K, the government has taken few important decisions ensuring safety of employees. Darbar move deferred because of COVID. Secretariat to function in both #Srinagar & #Jammu. Office functioning not to be affected because of eOffice,” Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha said in a series of tweets on Thursday.

Jammu and Kashmir had recorded 1,086 fresh COVID-19 cases on Wednesday taking the infection count to 1,41,736 while five deaths due to the virus raised the toll to 2,042 in the UT.

As Jammu and Kashmir is witnessing a surge in the number of COVID cases, the threat it poses to people and staff on the move and the implementation of eOffice software in both the secretariat and move offices, it has been decided to defer the Darbar Move this time, the LG said.

“However, Secretariat will function in both Srinagar & Jammu with staff equitably split between two Secretaries will function from both locations in an equitable manner,” Sinha’s office tweeted.

He said office functioning will not be affected as files will move electronically between both the secretariats through eOffice software.

Meanwhile, an official press release in this regard sad that taking note of the alarming surge in COVID cases, the government today decided to defer the summer Darbar Move 2021 and reinforce its resources towards the containment of the pandemic.

“It was also decided that the Secretariat will continue to function through its e-office in both the capital cities of Jammu and Srinagar so that the public at large is not inconvenienced at either capital. The functioning of the dual-secretariat will ensure uninterrupted functioning of the UT administration while reducing the need for long-distance travel of the public,” the press release said.

It said during a high-level meeting, it was observed that a complete shift of Darbar offices to Srinagar from 30th April can jeopardize COVID-control efforts in Jammu and Kashmir. As elsewhere in the country, the number of COVID cases in the Union territory is at an all-time high and requires uninterrupted attention for effective monitoring and control.

The government directed the Administrative Secretaries to put in place a robust mechanism for holding virtual offices through e-Office and use online/electronic/video conferencing/other modes of communication at the two capital cities.

“J&K Secretariat has already switched over to a paperless office by rolling out the prestigious e-Office project. As such, most of the official record is available on the web cloud which can be easily accessed and retrieved by the authenticated employees’ accounts anywhere, anytime,” the press release said.

It was also decided that GAD will issue orders regarding ‘move’ HoDs, all of whom will also need to shift to e-Office. This will apply to all HoDs, barring a few, the press release said.

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