The civil secretariat and other offices re-open in Jammu amid strict security measures

JAMMU: Amid strict security arrangements, the civil secretariat, government headquarters, and other offices reopened here Monday after running for six months in Srinagar as part of the almost 150-year-old practice known locally as 'Darbar Move'.

The biannual change is the first after the bifurcation of the state in two territories of the Union of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh, which entered into force on October 31.

Girish Chandra Murmu, who assumed office as the first Lieutenant Governor of Jammu and Kashmir on October 31 at Raj Bhavan in Srinagar, inspected the traditional guard of honor given to him by a police contingent at the lawns at sharp 9.30am, marking the opening of move offices here.

However, he skipped the usual press conference, which was a habitual practice of the head of administration in the former state and, instead, immediately entered the secretariat to embark on his official work.

The secretariat and other government offices closed in Srinagar on October 25-26 after functioning there for six months. The other offices which resume functioning here include Raj Bhavan and the Police headquarters.

The police and have deployed forcefully in the city, especially on the roads leading to the civil secretariat as part of security measures to ensure the proper functioning of the Jammu administration.

The main road outside the secretariat was closed to the civil movement with barricades and a strong police deployment. Employees of the civil secretariat are only allowed on the road after thorough verification.

The practice of 'Darbar Move' - under which the government functions in Jammu during six months of winter and in Srinagar during summer-- was started by Maharaja Gulab Singh in 1872 to escape extreme weather conditions in the two regions.

However, the practice continued even after Independence with the objective of providing governance benefits to the Kashmir and Jammu regions for six months in turns.

While Jammu and Srinagar cities benefit from this practice as the roads and other infrastructure gets the basic minimum repairs done on an annual basis, the Darbar Move incurs expenditure of crores of rupees.

The practice involves moving voluminous files between Jammu and Srinagar and thousands of employees between the two cities in hundreds of buses and trucks.

Employees who work in moving offices get almost two weeks of free vacations and compensatory allowances twice a year.

Several political parties have in the past demanded scrapping the practice and instead establishing permanent offices both at Jammu and Srinagar.