Abrogation of Article 370: Will Centre do away with Traditional ‘Darbar Move’ practice?

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Officials say waiting for GoI’s directions; plan is to ensure people of Kashmir don’t face any governance deficit in winter months 

Gowhar Nazir

Srinagar, Sep 30 (KNO): The annual Darbar Move practice that has been a tradition in Jammu and Kashmir since Maharaja Hari Singh’s time is all set to trigger a debate as to whether the decades old practice is going to stay or Centre would do away with the move “as a cost cutting measure.”  According to top government officials in the State, there is no direction from the Government of  India (GoI) whether Darbar would move to Jammu for six months or else, there would be some” different arrangements to serve the people of both regions simultaneously.

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According to the wire service—Kashmir News Observer (KNO), the Darbar Move (bi-annual shifting of state administration offices from Jammu to Srinagar and vice-versa) is considered an important practice in order to serve the people. The move have caught a great attention among the people of the valley, some saying it’s over now while as some says it continues to take place. Every year, Civil Secretariat offices close in the last week of October in Srinagar and in the first week of November, offices open in Jammu for the next six months. What has triggered a debate whether Darbar move practice would be done away with is the fact that Centre on August 5 revoked Article 370 and bifurcated the erstwhile state into two Union Territories (UTs) with an announcement that Jammu and Kashmir would “now reap the benefits of good governance as all the mainstream politicians had looted common people in the name of governance.”

According to Ashiq Hussain (name changed), a secretariat employee, who takes part in Darbar Move told KNO,” As we have not received any information on the same from the concerned higher-ups and it’s early to say anything about the issue.”

He told KNO that, the Darbar Move has its own importance which is aimed at serving the people of the regions equally, no doubt the practice puts some weight on the state budget and the step is time consuming in shifting the offices from one region to another. He further added,” I am a public servant and my working place or venue hardly matters for me, the prime objective of every official is to exercise his power and authority in the best possible way for the  betterment of the people.”

A top official in the administration revealed to KNO that GoI is likely to make “alternative governance arrangements instead of shifting Darbar to Jammu for next six months. “But so far there are no clear directions as to what would be the plan. We are waiting for the Centre’s directions. There is every likelihood that some advisors would stay in Kashmir and some in Jammu region while as Governor Satya Pal Malik would travel to and fro. What remains to be seen is whether Civil Secretariat offices would remain open in Srinagar and Jammu simultaneously.” It is pertinent to mention that people of Kashmir suffer on multiple fronts in the six months especially the three months of bone chilling cold starting from December 21.

Muhammad Ashraf, a resident of Srinagar told KNO,” The Darbar Move have lost its importance in the region of Jammu and Kashmir as there is no need of it now when the J&K is no more a state now.Lets see what the new governance arrangement would be like.”(KNO)

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