Omar Abdullah

The 42-year-old Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir, Omar Abdullah, who recently completed four years in office, poured his heart out recently that he would have been a Formula One driver in an ideal world had he not been shouldering ‘burden of inheritance’ in real world as a politician.

He is apparently a fan of German racer Michael Schumacher, a seven-time Formula One World Champion.

Recently Omar was in controversy when he had mooted the idea of reversing the timing of Darbar-Move: keeping it in Jammu during summer andin Kashmir during winters. So that the problems of people were well attended by the government especially at a time when it is needed most.

Tech-savvyJ&K CM in his usual tweeting style admitted that the process of DarbarMove can’t be done away with.“Stop this escapism of running saway at most problematic times—stay in Srinagar during winter and Jammu in summer to address the problems,’’ Omar said in his tweet.

Presently, the trend is reverse. “Do I think the Darbar Move is a waste of Money? Yes I do. Is there an alternative? I haven’t seen a viable alternative suggested,’’Omar had said.

Currently, the Darbar Move is drainingRs 100 crores outof the State exchequer—Rs 50 crores every time in summer and winter. The cost would remain the same even if the Darbar stayed in Jammu during summer and Kashmir during winter, besidescrores of rupees is being spent on travel allowance for nearly 5000 Move employees and transportation of hundreds of thousands of files between the twin capitals.

Pertinently, the Darbar Move was the brainchild of Maharaja Gulab Singh who started this practice in 1872 to provide equal access to the seat of power to the people from both Jammu and Kashmir regions during the year.

DrFarooq Abdullah led state government in 1987 had tried to end the practice of Darbar Move by keeping the Civil Secretariat in Srinagar.He had ordered permanent stationing of 20 Departments in Srinagar and 17 in Jammu by an official order issued on October 7, 1987. However, a strong agitation and an indefinite bandh in Jammu region followed by the intervention of the then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, who had rushed his Home Minister Buta Singh to Jammu, had forced Dr Abdullah to revoke the order and defused the crisis.

On April 19, 2012 when the Darbar was about to move to Srinagar, Omar had termed the shifting of the state capital between Jammu and Srinagar twice every year as “waste of money” but admitted that no viable alternative to the arrangement has come forth so far.

“Perhaps, the time has come to seriously consider reversing the move,” Omar tweeted while admitting that it was not possible to keep the Darbar at one place.

(Shah Abbas)

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