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Darbar Move: A burden on J&K exchequer

Estates department spends Rs 127 crore for providing accommodation to Move employees in past 2 years

Nasir Azam

Srinagar, Apr 16 (KNO): Jammu and Kashmir government has spent Rs 127 crore for providing accommodation to Darbar Move employees in the past two years.

According to an affidavit filed by the Estates department in High Court, Rs 127 crore were utilized for providing accommodation to Dubar Move employees in Srinagar and Jammu during  2018-19 and 2019-20.

As per the affidavit, a copy of which lies with news agency—Kashmir News Observer (KNO), it reveals that Rs 41.32 and Rs 23.57 crore were spent for providing accommodation to employees in Srinagar and Jammu, respectively, during 2018-19. In 2019-20, Rs 41.61 crore utilized for providing accommodation to the employees in Srinagar and Rs 20.53 crore in Jammu.

The expenditure incurred by the Estates departments includes hiring of private hotels, private houses and JKTDC huts, transportation charges, maintenance charges and hiring of seasonal laborers.

The department has revealed that 307 private houses were hired in Srinagar and 151 in Jammu during 2018-19. In 2019-20, 80 private houses were hired in Srinagar and 69 in Jammu. These private houses are apart from private hotels and JKTDC huts hired by the Estates department for providing accommodation to the Move employees.

These details were submitted by the department after High Court had sought details of expenditure spent on providing accommodation to Move employees. The Court is hearing pleas seeking postponement of Darbar Move due to outbreak of deadly covid in Jammu and Kashmir.

As per the 148–year-old practice of Darbar Move, the civil secretariat and all other important offices of J&K would function from May to October in Srinagar. These offices would function in Jammu from November to April.

The practice of Darbar Move was started by Dogra ruler Maharaja Gulab Singh in 1872 to “escape the extreme weather of Kashmir in winter and to give a fillip to economy of Jammu.” –(KNO)