Despite ‘Durbar’ End, Kashmir Vendors Keep Date With Winter Wear In Jammu

Representational Photo

Jammu- Braving chilly weather and foggy conditions, people from Kashmir have put up carts selling new and used winter wear in several parts of Jammu city, which was a regular sight during the now-scrapped Durbar Move.

Hundreds of Kashmiri youngsters have lined the streets in the Panama Chowk, Bahu Plaza, Gujjar Nagar, B C Road, Belicharana and the Gandhinagar areas of the city, continuing their ‘annual practice’.

The more than 150-year-old biannual tradition of ”Durbar Move” – shifting of the civil secretariat between the two capitals of Jammu and Kashmir – used to witness over one lakh people from Kashmir, mostly government employees and their families, throng Jammu in winters to avoid the chilly and harsh weather conditions in the Valley.

The Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha-led administration stopped the practice in June 2021 after moving to e-office to ensure smooth functioning of the civil secretariat in the twin capitals across the year, saving Rs 200 crore per year on shifting of the offices.

The vendors from Kashmir vendors said they throng Jammu to sell warm clothes every winter.

”We come here every winter to sell warm clothes to the people of Jammu. We will continue this practice as the people here are still coming forward to buy them,” Ishtiyaq Ahmed, a resident of South Kashmir selling used winter wear at Belicharana, told PTI.

The Kashmiri vendors were all praise for the people of Jammu for their warmth and said they would continue their practice of coming here every winter to sell clothes even though the Durbar Move has stopped.

For many residents of Jammu, it is an opportunity to get winter clothes at affordable prices.

”We come here to get these warm clothes as they are affordable for middle-class people. We await their arrival,” Jammu resident Sham Sunder said.

The practice of ‘Durbar Move’ — under which the state government used to function in Jammu during the six months of winter and in Srinagar during summer — was started by Maharaja Gulab Singh in 1872 to escape the extreme weather conditions in the two regions of the erstwhile state.

The practice continued even after the Independence with the aim of providing governance benefits to both the Kashmir and the Jammu regions. It involved moving voluminous files between Jammu and Srinagar and thousands of employees between the two cities in hundreds of buses and trucks.
After the Durbar Move came to an end, the Jammu business community said it was facing financial losses.

Arun Gupta, president of the Jammu Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said the move has killed the source of business and livelihood for many Jammu traders.

”Our Kashmiri brothers and sisters would come here every year and spend money on shopping which gave a boost to our economy, but from last year, we have been incurring losses,” he said.

Hotel and lodge owners in Jammu have also raised concerns over the loss of business over the past two years and demanded the immediate restoration of the ‘Durbar Move’.

”The business in Jammu used to thrive before the start of the direct train to Katra, the base camp for pilgrims visiting the Vaishno Devi shrine, in 2014. The COVID-19 outbreak and the government’s decision to end the Durbar Move dealt a severe blow to our business,” president of All Jammu Hotels and Lodges’ Association Pawan Gupta said earlier.


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