Jammu, Apr 29 : Srinagar, the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir, is all geared up for the annual shifting of government departments from the winter capital Jammu.
"The secretariat in Jammu was closed from April 25. The secretariat office in Srinagar will start its work from May 5 and it will be operational till the last week of October, as the Srinagar office will be closed again during winters. Then, the Jammu office of the secretariat will start its work in first week of November. During this period, the roster for the ministers will also be prepared. Moreover, the Chief Minister also makes periodic visits to the office," said S K Sharma, Joint Director of Information Department, Jammu and Kashmir.
The bi-annual practice of shifting the seat of government for six months to Jammu and for the remaining six months to Srinagar is known as the "Darbar Move".
It has been inherited from the erstwhile Dogra rulers, dating back to the 19th century.
The Dogra rulers, who hailed from Jammu region, used to shift the royal court locally known as "Durbar" to Srinagar about 300 km away for six months with the onset of summer.
In winter, they would shift to Jammu, as the mercury in Srinagar dips as low as minus ten degrees centigrade in winter months while Jammu, in the plains, remains relatively warm.
However, the practice of shifting the capital twice a year is a drain on the exchequer and as in previous years, the question is being raised as to why this move should be persisted with.
According to rough estimates, the move costs the state more than rupees 500 million each time the seat of government shifts from one capital to the other. It also involves painstaking labour of over a month. Hundreds of trucks are hired for shifting offices' material from Jammu to Srinagar and vice-versa. During that time no work takes place in the offices.
It's only when around 7,000 government employees move to Srinagar every May that Srinagar sees some development-related activities.
Residents lament the fact that Srinagar and Kashmir suffer due to total apathy during the winter months.
As the capital shifts, roads have to been re-done and government quarters and the residential area of several government officials are also given a facelift.