Mehbooba Mufti govt to shift base to Jammu as traders calls for strike on Monday

Jammu: The civil secretariat and other offices will reopen in Jammu on Monday after a 10-day break owing to the pre-Independence practice of "darbar move" under which the Jammu and Kashmir government functions six months each in the twin capitals of Srinagar and Jammu.

The reopening of government offices in the winter capital will be marked by a strike call given by a traders federation and supported by various Jammu-based organizations to highlight the alleged failure of the PDP-BJP government to address their issues including the continuation of toll tax on goods imported from outside the state.

The practice of "darbar move" was started by Maharaja Gulab Singh in 1872 to escape the summer heat of Jammu and the biting winters of Srinagar.

Representational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

"All necessary arrangements are in place to ensure smooth functioning of the government from here," Divisional Commissioner, Jammu, Mandeep K Bhandari told PTI.

He said the administration was ready and the works to ensure better facilities to employees have been completed.

Arrangements have been made to deal with any situation including law and order problem in the wake of the bandh call given by certain groups, Bhandari said.

The bandh call was given by Chamber of Traders Federation (CTF) to protest toll tax on goods imported from outside the state and to press for a public holiday on the birth anniversary of last Dogra ruler Maharaja Hari Singh.

While many organisations including Jammu High Court Bar Association, National Panthers Party and Team Jammu extended support to the strike call, Bari Brahmana Industries Association (BBIA) opposed it.

It said "the toll post is working as a tool to stop the import of unaccounted goods by "vested interests".

Market associations also distanced themselves from the strike call, terming the bandh as "unjustified".

Inspector General of Police, Jammu, S D Singh Jamwal said best possible security arrangements have been made in connection with the reopening of offices including civil secretariat – the seat of Jammu and Kashmir government – and Raj Bhavan in Jammu.

He said closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras at important installations and thoroughfares including secretariat have been made operational to maintain a close vigil.

Like yesteryears, the city this time was also given a facelift to welcome the government.

The secretariat along with other offices and quarters has been renovated, while the roads in the vicinity got macadamised or repaired over the past several weeks.

Damaged street lights were repaired. Pathways and roadsides were cleaned and painted.

The state government spends crores of rupees every year to shift voluminous records between the two capital cities twice a year, besides paying a huge amount as an allowance to several thousand employees who shift base with the government.

There have been demands from various quarters to abolish the practice and set up permanent civil secretariats in Jammu and Srinagar.

National Panthers Party chairman Harsh Dev Singh said his party would take out a march on Monday to showcase the unity of Jammu for the realisation of the common goal of "ending the age-old subjugation of Dogra land".

Updated Date: Nov 05, 2017 14:21 PM

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