The Civil Secretariat has closed in Srinagar to resume functioning in winter capital Jammu from 6th November. As harsh winters approach, the practice of those in power abandoning people is witnessing a ritualistic repeat.
The practice of shifting Darbar or the seat of power was started by Maharaja Gulab singh in 1872 to escape the harsh weather in summer and winter of Jammu and Srinagar respectively. Though the reins of power came into hands of elected government, even they continued with the “Shahi” practice thinking little of the miseries being faced by the people. The practice is not limited to the secretariat alone but other “Darbar moves offices” as well.
Nothing can be more ironic than elected representatives and top Babus of the official machinery leaving for better suited places just when Kashmir (and in case of summers -Jammu) is about to be hit by inhospitable weather and associated problems.
The season that brings along bone chilling cold, unexplained and unbearable cuts in the supply of electricity, road blockades also witnesses absentia when it comes to Babus and Netas. Thus leaving common people to fend for themselves.
While Netas and Babus always claim preparedness to deal with the situation, little is seen on ground to substantiate the claims. A state that has always had very poor record of governance and delivery can ill afford such adventures of its ruling class.
Not only does the practice affect people’s lives by distancing them from the principal agents of governance and possible grievance redressal, but it also has financial implications that a state like ours cannot afford.
The government spends huge sums of transportation of physicals assets and records. Not to mention the expenditures of stay and operations at both the places.
People for long have been asking for an end to this practice to help people of Jammu and Kashmir regions as well at saving financial resources of the state, so that the same can be put to better use of public welfare.
An alternate mechanism that doesn’t distance people from the crucial centers of governance is what has been the demand for years. While such a demand holds strength and legitimacy in any case, advances in the information technology and its proven effective use in governance has hardly left a room for those in power to offer alibi against such demands.