For the first time in 144 years, the J&K administration has decided to halt the annual shifting of the capital, called ‘Durbar move’, from Jammu to Srinagar in J&K due to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, as 23 fresh positive cases pushed the total in the Union Territory to 207.
“In view of the extraordinary circumstances due to COVID-19 pandemic, the Civil Secretariat at Jammu shall continue to remain functional and the ‘Durbar move’ employees shall work on ‘as is where is’ basis. It will allow Kashmir-based staff to work from Srinagar and Jammu-based staff shall work from Jammu,” said an order issued by the General Administration Department in Jammu.
Introduced by Dogra monarch Maharaja Gulab Singh in 1872, the ‘Durbar move’ would see shifting of the Civil Secretariat in summers from Jammu to Srinagar and in winters from Srinagar to Jammu. In January 1987, the then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi had asked then Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah to stop the practice. However, the ‘Durbar move’ was continued to allow it to at as a bridge between two diverse cultures of the Kashmir Valley and the Jammu region.
Meanwhile, the Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC) has been directed to carry out extensive sanitation and fumigation drives in the Civil Secretariat in Srinagar, where the offices will open after six month break on May 4.
The J&K administration decision to halt the ‘Durbar Move’ comes as COVID-19 cases shows an upward trend in the Union Territory. Jammu & Kashmir on Friday crossed the 200 mark, with 23 more samples testing positive.
“The total positive cases in J&K is 207, as 23 more cases were reported. Jammu has 39 and Kashmir 168 such cases,” said J&K government spokesperson Rohit Kansal.
Among the fresh cases are seven non-local members of the Tabligi Jamaat, who were in touch with a Chattabal man who has already tested positive for COVID-19.
Deputy Commissioner, Srinagar, Shahid Iqbal Choudhary said that detection of eight more positive cases in Srinagar should not panic locals. “This is a classic tracing success story,” he said.