J&K Secretariat Shifts To Srinagar
7 May 2007
Srinagar: The civil secretariat, the seat of Jammu and Kashmir government, opened here today after functioning at Jammu for six winter months as part of the annual durbar move. Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad inspected a guard of honour presented by various contingents of state police inside the secretariat premises. He also inspected various departments including general administration. The state government functions from Srinagar during the six summer months while shifts to Jammu for the remaining months of winter. The practice, started by the Maharajas of the state before Independence to escape the extreme weather conditions in the respective cities, is called durbar move. The exercise was continued by the democratically elected governments as well, in order to maintain a regional balance between Kashmir and Jammu provinces. However, the durbar move, which involves transporting huge piles of files between the two cities twice a year, costs a fortune for the taxpayers in the impoverished state. Conservative estimates put the money spent annually on this exercise at Rs 10 crore as cost of transportation and other allowances for the employees working in the civil secretariat. Meanwhile, security had been beefed up in Kashmir valley especially in Srinagar as security agencies suspected that militants might try to carry out attacks. The sand-bag bunkers atop the civil secretariat have been replaced by wooden structures to present an attractive look. The sand-bag bunkers have been set up on the building as part of security arrangements after the eruption of militancy here in 1989. Besides setting the wooden bunkers atop the building, the other renovation works taken up in the secretariat were also completed on time. The administration had given a new look to the roads and pavements of the city with street lights being repaired, foot-paths renovated, bridges and zebra-crossings painted afresh. Asked why the government was spending money for the comfort of a chosen few, the chief minister said the working season in Kashmir begins in later April and early May. Since the roads can get damaged by rains and it rains sometimes in April, it was advisable to carry out the works in May itself. In response to another question, Azad said patch work for repairing the damaged parts of the roads was the only solution as state did not have the funds for undertaking total re-laying of the roads. 'Concrete roads are the solution to our perrenial problem of roads but that costs Rs. 1.5 crore per kilometre which the state cannot afford at the moment,' the chief minister added.