Jammu: In a significant development the BJP Tuesday called for abandoning the 145 year old autocratic practice of bi-annual ‘Durbar Move’, under which the Jammu and Kashmir government functions six months each in the two capitals — Srinagar and Jammu.
The stand of the BJP, a ruling coalition partner of the PDP, has come as a surprise as the party has so far vehemently opposed any move towards that end.
The announcement coincided with the reopening of Durbar in the summer capital on Monday.
The Civil Secretariat, Raj Bhavan, High Court and nearly 100 government offices had closed in Jammu on April 28.
Demands have been raised in the past to put an end to this unnecessary practice that costs approximately Rs 100 crore twice a year to the state exchequer.
But all such demands have met with a stiff opposition from political circles in Jammu.
It was Jammus Dogra ruler Maharaja Ranbir Singh who had started this practice in 1872 to escape the harsh winters of the Kashmir Valley.
In 1987 the then Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah tried to stop this practice and even issued orders to keep the secretariat in Srinagar throughout the year. Farooq’s decision was met with vehement opposition from politicians of Jammu region and the BJP and other right wing groups were on the forefront.
Abdullah was forced to reverse his decision within a month.
Now perhaps there has been a rethinking in the party. On Monday state BJP spokesperson Virender Gupta said: The practice of ‘Durbar Move’ should be abandoned. There should be bifurcation of the state offices.
His statement was endorsed by Assembly Speaker Kavinder Gupta who said the practice costs the state exchequers heavily.
The spokesperson said that practice of ‘Durbar Move’ was adopted in Jammu and Kashmir as well as in some other parts of the country because of the special circumstance prevailing at that time when means of communication were limited and electronic communication was almost negligible.
He said because of the advancement in the electronic communication, air journey and better road facilities, this practice was abandoned in the rest of the country whereas it still continues in Jammu and Kashmir.
He suggested that the secretariat, directorates and offices of corporations should remain operational in Jammu as well as in Srinagar.
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