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Major ‘facelift’ exercise underway in Srinagar ahead of Durbar Move

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Srinagar: A major face lift exercise has been launched by the Estates Department and the R&B authorities besides other agencies including Srinagar Municipal Corporation and SDA, ahead of the Darbar move to the summer capital of the State.

The move offices will close in Jammu on April 27 and will reopen on May 7 here with traditional guard of honour for  the Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti.

Official sources told KNS that the Civil Secretariat, besides other move offices, the roads of city and the residential colonies of the move employees besides the official bungalows of the VIPs have started getting whitewashed and the much needed repair works are on.

“The roads around and leading to the civil secretariat are being renovated with labourers busy cleaning the pathways and painting the roadsides. We have started the process. It is an old practice which happens annually,’ one of the top officials of the R&B department told KNS.

Sources told KNS that the authorities have decided that the footpaths, especially in Lal Chowk and adjoining areas, to been cleared of encroachments before the opening of the civil secretariat. Sources said that in the wake of recent spurt in militant activities, authorities have also chalked out a plan to ensure security around vital installations including the civil secretariat and residential quarters of move employees.

Sources said that apart from the streets, ministers’ official bungalows and employees’ quarters are also getting a facelift for the bi-annual event.

Renovation and other repair works had also been started in government and private accommodations, where the darbar move offices will stay for next six months.

The State Road Transport Corporation authorities have been directed to make adequate number of buses available for the employees moving to Srinagar, while it has been asked to make trucks available for carrying official records to the summer Capital.

“The protection wall of fly over is being painted and senior officers of the concerned agencies are continuously monitoring the progress on the day today basis,” one of the top officials of the government said.

Sources also informed that the renovation and repair work in the bungalows of the VIPs including Ministers and bureaucrats has started. “Huge amount are being spent every year by the Estates Department for the renovation, repair and over all face lift of secretariat,” sources said.

Darbar Move in J&K is a 138-year-old tradition started by autocratic Dogra rulers. But the practice continued after 1947. It was started in 1872 by the then ruler of J&K, Maharaja Gulab Singh. In May, Darbar opens in Srinagar and closes on October 31 to open in Jammu on November 10.

The state government annually spends crores for moving the offices, records and employees to Jammu in November and then back to Srinagar in May. More than 40 offices and their sub-departments move in full after functioning for six winter months in Jammu while 45 departments move in camp. The latter carry 33 per cent of their staff strength.
All the move offices, apart from the manpower and other office paraphernalia, shift truck-loads of official records every six months.

“For around 7000 move employees-including secretariat employees, police, judiciary and corporations-the TA alone runs to the tune of Rs 3.5 crore. Around 3000-3500 employees also avail facility of government accommodation,” sources claimed.

Meanwhile official sources said that Divisional administration and police has made arrangements on the eve of the Durbar Move. “All necessary arrangements have been put in place for the smooth functioning of Civil Secretariat and other move offices,” said one of the top officials of the Divisional administration who preferred not to be named.inputs from kns

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