Jammu: Congress on Sunday demanded that the Jammu and Kashmir government give up the bi-annual exercise of shifting of Secretariat, saying it was a "wasteful exercise" that would drain resources of the state which is grappling with the aftermath of the devastating floods.
"It would be a mockery with the flood affected people of Kashmir if the seat of governance moves to Jammu," Congress leader and former state minister Gulchain Singh Charak said, while stressing on the need to have "functional" Secretariats in both Jammu and Srinagar to better cater to the two regions.
The practice of shuttling the seat of governance between the summer capital of Srinagar and winter capital Jammu known as Darbar Move, which includes shifting of Civil Secretariat, J&K Legislature, Raj Bhawan, police headquarters and other autonomous bodies twice a year, was started in 1872 by the then Dogra rulers of the erstwhile princely state of Jammu and Kashmir.
He said "the people in Kashmir as well as Jammu need the ministers and bureaucrats to take decisions. It would be a mockery with the flood hit people of Kashmir if they have to come to Jammu to meet the ministers or other officials".
"We have always maintained that this is a wasteful exercise wherein huge financial resources of the already debt ridden state of Jammu and Kashmir get wasted," Charak said.
He said in view of the recent floods, it was imperative to have two operational secretariats in both the capital cities of the state.
"At this moment of crisis when the flood has badly hit the state, the need is to have two functional secretariats in Srinagar as well as in Jammu. The two secretariats would help the flood affected people of both the regions," he said.
Charak said that the issue had been taken with Chief Minister Omar Abdullah and claimed that he too had endorsed the idea of having two operational secretariats in both the region of the state.
Raising the issue of the people living on the border who are affected by the cross border shelling, Charak said, "The people living along the border areas in the region are feeling insecure. Students of these areas are unable to carry on with their studies. People and livestocks are being targeted. We appeal the government to take immediate steps to save them."
Charak also said that the floods had caused large scale damage to the various historical monuments across the state.
"We appeal to the Jammu and Kashmir government to take measures to save the cultural heritage of our state," he said.