J&K to break Durbar Move tradition, only sensitive files to go to Srinagar this time

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The circular also mentioned that it has been decided “only ten trucks shall be arranged for shifting such sensitive records/files to Srinagar’’.

In a move that is set to break a 148-year-old tradition in Jammu and Kashmir, only “sensitive records” will be taken from Jammu to Srinagar this summer as part of the annual Durbar Move exercise.

The UT administration’s offices observing five-day week close in Jammu on April 30, and those working six days on May 1. All offices, including the civil secretariat, will reopen in Srinagar on May 10.

In a circular issued on Wednesday, the UT’s Commissioner-Secretary, General Administration Department, Manoj Kumar Dwivedi, stated that “it has been decided to completely switch over to e–office by April 15’’ to “improve efficiency and effectiveness of the government and to obviate the requirement of physical movement of files/records from Jammu to Srinagar and vice versa’’.

The circular mentions that all Administrative Secretaries have been instructed to “compile a list of such confidential/sensitive files/records, including files/records of respective subordinate move offices, which have not been scanned and require to be carried to Srinagar’’. It stated, “The quantum of such files be provided by all the departments to the General Administration Department by April 15 for approval.”

The circular also mentioned that it has been decided “only ten trucks shall be arranged for shifting such sensitive records/files to Srinagar’’.

Earlier, hundreds of trucks were arranged every six months to transport office files from Srinagar to Jammu during winter and back to the Valley in summer – it led to spending of nearly Rs 130 crore for one-way movement at last count.

All records or files of various departments have been digitised, barring except some sensitive/confidential ones, which will be carried to Srinagar, the circular mentioned.

The Durbar Move has met criticism from several quarters over the years for leading to waste of crores in a cash-strapped state, now UT.

Last year, a division bench of Jammu and Kashmir High Court, comprising then Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice Rajnesh Oswal, observed that there was no legal justification or Constitutional basis for the 148-year-old tradition.

Pointing out that the practice has resulted in wastage of tremendous amount of time, effort and energy on inefficient and unnecessary activity, the court observed that valuable resources cannot be diverted to non-essential use when the Union Territory is unable to provide even basic essentials to its people.

The court, however, did not issue any direction to the administration – it ordered the Chief Secretary to place the verdict before authorities examining the issues raised.

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