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Darbar move: Civil secretariat closes in Srinagar

SRINAGAR: The civil secretariat, which is the seat of Jammu and Kashmir government, closed here on Friday as part of the biannual ''Darbar move'', a practice started by Maharaja Gulab Singh in 1872, officials said.

Civil Secretariat and other Darbar move offices, which observe a five-day week, closed here on Friday, while the offices observing a six-day week will close on Saturday, they said.

All the offices will reopen at Jammu on November 9. The civil secretariat and other Darbar move offices function in Srinagar for six months of summer and in Jammu for the remaining six months of the year.

The practice was started by the maharaja 145 years ago to escape the extreme heat of Jammu during summers and biting cold of winters in Srinagar.

However, the practice was continued by elected governments post-Independence in order to provide access to people of both regions -- by turns -- to the seat of power in the state.

The government spends crores of rupees every year to shift voluminous records between the two capital cities twice a year, besides paying similar amounts as allowance for the several thousand employees who shift base with the government.

There have been demands from various quarters to abolish the practice and set up permanent civil secretariats in Jammu and Srinagar cities so that people can get redressal to their problems round the year while saving a substantial amount of the public exchequer.

The COVID-19 pandemic delayed the Darbar move from Jammu to Srinagar this summer.

The government allowed Jammu-based employees to stay back in the winter capital while valley-based employees were directed to report to work in May this year.

However, all employees were directed to report to work in July, two months after the scheduled opening of darbar in Srinagar.

 

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PTI