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Darbar move a necessary evil: J&K CM Omar

May 07, 2012 13:48 IST

Terming the bi-annual shifting of state capital as a "necessary evil", Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on Monday advocated a reverse 'darbar move' so that the government stays with the people when they are facing hardships due to extreme weather.

As per the 140-year-old practice of erstwhile Maharajas of Jammu and Kashmir, the seat of government shifts between Jammu and Srinagar every six months.

The practice was started by Maharaja Ranbir Singh in 1872 to escape the extreme weather conditions of Jammu during summer and of the Valley during winter.

The practice continued even after independence in order to give equal access to the government to people of both regions of the state.

A reverse "darbar move" would mean that the capital stays in Jammu in summers and in Srinagar during winters.

"It is my personal opinion and not that of the government. There should be reverse Darbar move so that the government is with the people when they are facing hardships," Omar told media persons after inspecting the guard of honour at the reopening of government offices in Srinagar.

He said it was a necessary evil.

Omar, earlier had tweeted, that Darbar move was an inevitable practice as no viable alternative to it has come forth so far.

"Do I think the 'Durbar move' (shifting of capital) is a waste of money? Yes I do. Is there an alternative? I haven't seen a viable alternative suggested," Omar wrote on micro-blogging site last month.           

Omar had described the darbar move practice was "escapist".

"I agree. We run away when people need us most and (they) face the most difficulty. The darbar move is escapist," he added.

The state government shifts its capital from Jammu to Srinagar in the first week of May every year and functions here for six months before moving back to Jammu along with volumes of records.

The state government spends crores of rupees on travel allowances for the nearly 5000 employees and transportation of hundreds of thousands of files between the twin capitals.

The state government's Move offices, as they are known in local parlance, closed in Jammu on April 28 and reopened here today.

Stringent security arrangements were put in place for the reopening of the offices.

The city was given a face-lift in the run up to Darbar move as authorities put a fresh coat of paint on the side-ways and memorials and other key junctions were cleaned.

Authorities have also arranged 1,285 residential quarters out of which 780 are being provided to the 'Darbar Move' employees, while 166 rooms are being allotted to senior officers, he said.

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