The regal vestige of about150-year-old practice of biannual ‘Durbar Move’ which costed the public exchequer over Rs. 200 crores per year in Jammu and Kashmir has finally come to an end leaving more funds for welfare programs.

As per media reports, The J&K administration under Lieutenant Governor(LG) Manoj Sinha has on Wednesday ordered the cancellation of residential accommodations of Durbar Move employees and officers from Srinagar stationed at Jammu and those from Jammu stationed at Srinagar. The said employees and officers have been directed to vacate the government quarters within three weeks.

Durbar Move Cost Exchequer 200 Crores & Weak Governance

This move follows LG Manoj Sinha’s statement earlier on 20th June stating that the administration had completely transitioned to e-office. He had stated, “Now, both Jammu and Srinagar secretariats can function normally for twelve months.” He further stated that the move will save the government 200 crore every year which would be fruitfully utilised for the welfare of the deprived sections.

The regal vestige of Durbar Move involved shifting of over 10,000 government employees, thousands of official files and equipment in trucks and buses twice a year as the Civil Secretariat and government offices moved from Jammu to Srinagar in summers (May to October) and back to Jammu (November to April) in winters.

Employee connected with the Durbar Move were annually paid along with their usual salary an additional Rs 74,000 – Rs 50,000 as Move Travel Allowance and Rs 24,000 as Temporary Movement Allowance.

The estates department reportedly has 4,678 dwelling units, of which 3,200 units are in Jammu and 1,478 units in Srinagar. Many employees are provided private accommodation paid for by the government. As per Wednesday’s order, officers and employees occupying government residential accommodation have to vacate within 21 days.

Durbar Move Began in 1872 Under Maharaja Gulab Singh

The practice of ‘Darbar Move’, shifting capital every six months, began in 1872 by Maharaja Gulab Singh due to extreme winters in Sringar and little hot summers in Jammu.

The Durbar Move in modern times after independence seems quite unviable and puts a huge burden on the State exchequer which can now be used for funding more gainful welfare programs. This move of junking the regal practice would also bring better efficiency and transparency in the administration of the two regions. Much of time, energy and money wasted in shifting of over 10,000 files resulted in weak and compromised administrative governance.

Jammu as Permanent Capital of J&K

There has been a growing demand to make Jammu a separate State or to shift the capital permanently to Jammu as it has comparatively tolerable climate and also more population than Srinagar. With the new delimitation exercise aiming to allot a more equitable distribution of assembly seats for Jammu, Jammu and Kashmir could hopefully see for the fist time a Chief Minister from Jammu since independence. A Jammu based Hindu Chief Minister for Jammu and Kashmir which would curb the pro-secessionist narrative in the political power corridors of the region, bring more peace to the area and usher in more equitable development to the much neglected Jammu area by the hitherto Kashmir Valley based Islamic party politics.

News inputs: New Indian Express. Image sourced from:

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