The civil secretariat, which is the seat of the Jammu and Kashmir government, will close here on October 30 and reopen in winter capital Jammu on November 9 as part of the biannual ‘Darbar Move’, a practice started by Maharaja Gulab Singh in 1872. The practice was started by the Maharaja 145 years ago to escape the extreme heat of Jammu during the summers and biting cold of winters in Srinagar.
The civil secretariat and other ‘Darbar Move’ offices, which observe a five-day week, will close in Srinagar on October 30, while the offices observing a six-day week will close the next day, an order issued by the government said. It 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 ‘Darbar Move’ was continued by elected governments post-Independence in order to provide access to people of both the 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 a similar amount as allowance for the several thousands of 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 so that people can get redressal to their problems round- the-year while saving substantial amounts 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 Srinagar-based employees were directed to report to work in May. However, all employees were directed to report to work in July, two months after scheduled opening of the darbar in Srinagar.