By Mushtaq Hurra
Jammu and Kashmir is the most unique region. The reference here is to its dual capital viz Srinagar and Jammu. Every year, the capital is shifted from Srinagar to Jammu during winters and from Jammu to Srinagar during summer. This biannual shifting of the capital from one city to the other and vice versa is traditionally known as Darbar move.
Darbar move is not lesser than a grand royal tradition. Caravans of employees, vehicles laden with files and other necessary things occupy the highway which connects for many days. Two way traffic on our national highway is strictly prohibited for the smooth arrival of people to the summer capital at Jammu which adds miserably to the woes of the common people.
The practice has been a big burden on the state exchequer. Our economy which is already in limbo, faces the extra slap of this transfer of capital from one region to the other. According to some estimates, the shifting of capital costs rupees 1.1 billion annually. This is not a small amount given the financial crisis our state is going through. This amount could have been used to boost our economic setup which largely depends on horticulture, agriculture and tourism.
Thus, the traditional shifting of capital is a big leaky bucket which leaves our fragile economy into a deplorable state.
Given the climatic differences between the two capital cities of the hilly state, the crown is shifted from Srinagar to Jammu during winters, and the subsequent shifting leaves the whole Kashmir crying and wailing over the disappearance of basic amenities. People in the winter capital feel apartheid and segregated because the administration seems to be the rulers of only one region. The shifting or transfer o thef capital in no terms means the step-motherly treatment with people here in the valley. Authorities at the helm of affairs probably forget this part of the state when they cross the Jawahar-tunnel to bask under the pleasant sun in Jammu. Darbar move takes away our most important required necessities during winters , leaving us at the mercy of Allah.
Electricity is the most important blessing of science and no modern society can live without it. Given its wide range of uses, from domestic to industrial ones, the service is considered to be the jugular vein. It is as important as the blood is to body. Even, one can’t think of life without it .And the unprecedented and unparalleled electricity worse of Kashmir since early onset of winter, are known to all. Though consumers pay huge tariffs to the power Development Department (PDD) but it miserably fails to live up to the expectations of the people.
Common masses face hardships particularly the poor who can’t afford generators and modern heating gadgets. Children, women, students and senior citizens face the brunt of it. The Power Development Department fails to provide services as per its scheduled curtailment program which irks the people.PDD officials most often offer the excuse of overloading. Even damaged transformers are not repaired for weeks together. Kashmir homes display dark and gloomy looks during winters because electricity disappears with the transfer of Darbar from Srinagar to Jammu, leaving dwellers high and dry.
Water is another essential requirement of life and vitally important for smooth functioning of different domestic and industrial purposes. The water supply facilities in Kashmir are no better than electricity facilities during winter. During the extreme cold, when people prefer to stay indoors, the scarcity of water disturbs their comfort zones. People are forced to venture out to fetch water for different purposes. The scenario is more deplorable in our rural belt where there is no one address the complaints of masses. The Public Health Engineering ( PHE) Department evades the responsibility under the garb of no electricity and frozen pipes.
Another facet of the Darbar move is more miserable and deplorable. Red tapism and official hegemony mounts during the winter. Even lower rung officers behave like Tsars in public Offices, resulting in corruption and favoritism. Public grievance system weakens during this period. This adds to the pain and agonies of people in the conflict hit cold region of the state.
People are forced to visit the summer capital at Jammu given the inadequate regulation of public grievances at Srinagar. Though one or two Babus are assigned with the job to stay in the winter Secretariat here but they spend most of their time either in Jammu or somewhere else, away from Srinagar.
Thus, the official declaration of closure of civil Secretariat in Srinagar spreads a wave of disappointment among masses in Kashmir. Besides the deprivation of many basic amenities of life, people, here, are subjected to official apathy. Let us hope, the incumbent governor administration takes the exemplary required steps, and at least one advisor among the three stays here during winters, to make the public outreach accessible.
The writer is a teacher and can be reached at: email@example.com