The administrative offices of the Jammu and Kashmir government were on Monday shifted to summer capital Srinagar as part of the bi-annual 'Darbar Move'. The offices were closed in Jammu on Saturday and re-opened in Srinagar today (May 7).
The 'darbar move' practice between the two state capitals -- Srinagar for six summer months and Jammu for six winter months -- was started in 1872 during Maharaja Ranbir Singh's tenure.
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 be re-done and government quarters and the residential area of several government officials are also given a facelift.