Jammu: Keeping alive an over 150-year-old autocratic tradition, top offices of the Jammu and Kashmir government will shut in this winter capital Friday to begin their six-monthly sojourn in summer capital Srinagar.
The practice of shuttling top offices, including those of the governor, the chief minister, his ministerial colleagues, top bureaucrats and police officers was started by the Dogra maharajas to avoid the extreme summer heat of Jammu and the bitter winter cold in the Valley.
After 1947 when the state acceded to India, the Dogra rule ended abruptly, but the practice of shifting top offices between Jammu and Srinagar did not.
Every year, millions of rupees are spent on shifting records, loaded in steel trunks and almirahs, between the twin capitals.
Even higher amounts are spent on providing accommodation and other comforts to the ministers and top bureaucrats who have official residences in both capitals.
Since the practice of shifting offices owes itself to the Dogra tradition and times, it is still known as the ‘Darbar Move’.
The term alludes to the pomp and pageantry associated with the movement of the erstwhile ruler between the two capitals.
“It is more of a political issue and less of an administrative exigency now. But, I don’t think anybody, howsoever, powerful he might be politically can now do away with the practice,” a senior minister of the PDP-BJP coalition told Media Sources here, requesting anonymity.
Despite huge expenditure and inconvenience to people as offices remain closed for more than a fortnight each year on account of the closing and opening of records, offices will shut here on Friday and reopen Srinagar on May 5.
“As Galileo said about earth’s revolution, ‘E pur si muove’ (And yet it moves), no matter how hard it hits the common man”, Jammu resident Siddarth, 28, told Media Sources wryly.