J&K winter capital: a burden on state ex-chequer

By News Agency of Kashmir

Jammu: The State Darbar has shifted to the winter capital for the next six months but a common man on the street may not be aware of the fact that this exercise costs state ex-chequer Rs 45 crore annually.

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The practice was started by erstwhile Dogra rulers of princely state of Jammu and Kashmir and it continues till today at a heavey cost to the common man in economically crippled state where militancy has also taken its toll on tourism—the state economy’s mainstay.

Well informed sources told News Agency of Kashmir that this year, nearly 10,000 government officials, including top bureaucrats reached Jammu for the next six months.

Security apparatus has been heightened around the secretariat and section 144 Cr PC has been clamped around the seat of power diverting vehicular traffic to other routes.

Sources told that Durbar move was introduced to meet the aspirations of the people of both the regions of Jammu and Kashmir, the only state in the country which has two capitals.

A senior official in the General Administration Department told News Agency of Kashmir that the Darbar move costs heavily to the state ex-chequer

“The annual financial burden on the Darbar move accrues to Rs 45 crore annually,” he said.

“Nearly Rs 30 crore is spent on the accommodation of the employees, their travel allowances and transportation during the move while Rs 7 crore are spent on the renovation of residential accommodation provided to them,” he added.

He further said, “Rs 5 crore go down the drain in the name of beautification of the city.”

Till date nearly Rs 827 crore has been spent since the tradition began some 125 years back,” he said.

He further said, “The expenditure runs even more when Darbar is shifted to Srinagar as government has to provide security and food to over 10,000 officials including bureaucrats and other employees.”

Sources told News Agency of Kashmir that rulers of the erstwhile state had started the practice for their own comfort as Jammu gets very warmer during summers and valley get chilly during winters.

It may be mentioned here that PDP during its stint in the coalition had mooted a proposal either to have civil secretariat at a central place between Jammu and Srinagar or have simultaneous offices in both the cities.

However, the proposal did not take off.