It’s that time of the year when the Jammu and Kashmir civil secretariat makes its annual move to this summer capital following a century-old tradition and, quite naturally, a spit and polish job is under way to welcome the Durbar when it begins arriving towards the end of this month.
The ‘Durbar move’, the six-monthly rotation of the civil secretariat and the offices affiliated to it between here and winter capital Jammu follows in the tradition created by the Dogra maharajas of the state, whose founder, Maharaja Gulab Singh, “purchased” Jammu and Kashmir for 7.5 million Nanak Shahi rupees (Rs.50 crore) from the British East India Company in 1846 through the Treaty of Amritsar.
Roads, official buildings, zebra crossings and railings are being painted to give Srinagar a spruced-up look. This is ironically happening at a time the people in Srinagar city and elsewhere in the Valley are disgusted because of an electric power crisis which the government says is there because it has no funds for purchasing additional power.
“Against the background of its inability to handle civic issues like electricity and unemployment, the way the administration is busy decking up the city just because the civil secretariat is moving back seems a bit cruel,” said a citizen of Srinagar.