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'Darbar Move', 149-yr-old Tradition of Capital Shifting in J&K, Comes to an End

File Photo of Srinagar's Lal Chowk

File Photo of Srinagar's Lal Chowk

Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha had on June 20 announced that the Jammu and Kashmir administration has completely transitioned to e-office, thereby ending the practice of the bi-annual 'darbar move'.

‘Darbar move’, the 149-year-old biannual tradition of shifting capitals between Srinagar and Jammu, has come to an end, with the administration serving notice to employees to vacate their quarters in the twin capital cities within three weeks.

Around 8,000-9,000 employees working in Civil Secretariats have to move along with hundreds of official files physically in trucks on the treacherous Jammu-Srinagar highway twice every year. While Srinagar served as the summer capital, Jammu was the winter capital.

According to reports, Dogra monarch Maharaja Gulab Singh is believed to have started the tradition of shifting the capital in 1872. The tradition was continued after 1947 by J&K’s political class, as it acted as a major bridge and a space for interaction between two diverse linguistic and cultural groups of Kashmir and Jammu regions.

Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha had on June 20 announced that the Jammu and Kashmir administration has completely transitioned to e-office, thereby ending the practice of the bi-annual ‘darbar move’. Now both the Jammu and Srinagar secretariats can function normally for 12 months. This will save the government Rs 200 crore per year, which will be used for the welfare of the deprived sections, he had said.

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In an order issued by Commissioner Secretary, Estates Department, M Raju said sanction had been accorded to the cancellation of allotment of residential accommodation of officers and officials in Srinagar and Jammu. Employees from Jammu had been allotted residential accommodation in Srinagar and those from Srinagar in Jammu.

The estates department has 4,678 dwelling units in the Union Territory, comprising 3,200 units in Jammu and 1,478 units in Srinagar. Many of the employees are also having private accommodation provided by the government. Releasing the list of the employees whose residential accommodation has been cancelled on the basis of their location orders issued by the General Administrative Department, the order asked these officers and officials to vacate their government-allotted residential accommodation in the twin capital cities within 21 days.

There are over 10,000 employees working in the civil secretariat and the order covers all the move employees who were provided government accommodation, an official said, wishing anonymity. As part of the ‘darbar move’, the Raj Bhavan, the civil secretariat — the seat of the Jammu and Kashmir government — along with many other offices used to shift between Jammu and Srinagar twice a year.

The practice, under which the administration used to function in Jammu during the six months of winter and in Srinagar during the summer, was started by Maharaja Gulab Singh in 1872.

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first published:July 01, 2021, 10:44 IST