Other States

BJP leaders seek an end to darbar move

Security personal keeping vigil as vehicles loaded with official documents travel to Kashmir during ‘darbar move’ in Jammu.

Security personal keeping vigil as vehicles loaded with official documents travel to Kashmir during ‘darbar move’ in Jammu.

Two senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders have demanded an end to the 146-year-old Dogra-era practice of shifting the State capital biannually.

Called the darbar move, the State’s civil secretariat shuttles between the summer capital, Srinagar, and the winter capital, Jammu.

Seconded by Speaker

J&K Assembly Speaker Kavinder Gupta of the BJP and party spokesman Virendra Gupta called for a “bifurcation of the offices”.

“The practice of the darbar move should be abandoned. There should be a bifurcation of the State offices,” Mr. Virendra Gupta said.

Costly for the State

His demand was seconded by the Speaker, who said the practice was “costly for the State exchequer”.

“It was a compulsion in the past because of poor means of transportation and communication,” the Speaker said.

State BJP president Sat Sharma, however, said this was not the party’s stand but the view of only the two senior party leaders.

It’s not for the first time that the darbar move, introduced by Maharaja Gulab Singh in 1872, has come under criticism.

In 2012, the then Chief Minister Omar Abdullah had raised questions on the practice.

Bridging regions

However, the ruling People’s Democratic Party patron, Mufti Muhammad Sayeed, saw the darbar move as “a bridge between diverse regions of the Kashmir Valley and Jammu plains”.

“If the BJP is serious about bifurcating the offices, let it come up with a proposal. Our party is for meeting the aspirations of the people of all the regions of the State,” said Congress spokesman Ravinder Sharma.

Every year, over 7,000 employees of the civil secretariat shuttle between Srinagar and Jammu along with thousands of files, which are ferried in buses and trucks, on the 300-km-long route.

The move costs the State over ₹40 crore. The secretariat is located in Srinagar from May to October and in Jammu from November to April.

Questioned earlier

In January 1987, the then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, stranded in the Kashmir Valley due to heavy snowfall, had asked the government “to review the age-old practice”.

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Printable version | Jun 30, 2022 10:29:16 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/bjp-leaders-seek-an-end-to-darbar-move/article18418267.ece