During my childhood I used to tell my dad that I would love to work in the Srinagar secretariat, for it would allow me to escape the harsh winter in Kashmir. The Durbar Move twice a year is like a seasonal trip that allows one to winter in Jammu and summer in Kashmir. It was an enthralling thought to imagine at that time. As I grew older, though, I realised that this practice was a drain on our economy. As I gathered information from various sources, I learnt that this practice was started by Maharaja Ranbir Singh in 1872 to escape from harsh weather conditions. This royal expenditure, borne now by the taxpayer, in the name of governance is hitting badly the already crippled economy of Jammu & Kashmir. With every passing year the allowances of employees are being increased. Official documents and office equipment are packed in cartons and transported for the more than 300km distance between Jammu and Srinagar. This is total insanity. The Darbar move is a waste of time, money, and efforts on an inefficient and unnecessary activity. It, in fact, nurtures inefficiency and leads to lack of governance. It is unreasonable to shift the administration periodically. It only causes delays and hampers the administration.
It is better that Kashmir-based employees would work from the Srinagar secretariat and Jammu-based employees from the Jammu secretariat. Darbar Move is an outdated concept which has no justification any more. The efforts and resources that could be utilised towards the welfare and development of Jammu & Kashmir are being frittered away to keep up appearances that should have been shed a long time ago. It is high time to abolish this practice permanently.
—The writer is a PhD scholar at Department of Clinical Biochemistry, SKIMS, Srinagar.