JAMMU — Hotel and lodge owners on Monday raised concern over the loss of business over the past several years and demanded immediate restoration of ‘darbar move’, a practice under which the government functioned six months each in Jammu and Srinagar.
The Lt Governor Manoj Sinha-led administration stopped the age-old practice in June last year after moving to e-office to ensure smooth functioning of the Civil Secretariat in the twin capitals in all the 12 months, thus saving Rs 200 crore per year on shifting of offices.
“The business in Jammu used to thrive before the start of the direct train to Katra, the base camp for the pilgrims visiting Mata Vaishno Devi shrine (in 2014). The COVID-19 outbreak and the government decision to end the darbar move has dealt a severe blow to our business,” President All Jammu Hotels and Lodges’ Association Pawan Gupta told reporters here.
He said the pilgrim traffic to Vaishno Devi is expected to cross 90 lakh this year but it has no benefit for the business community of Jammu which is facing the worst situation as only 10 to 15 percent of the pilgrims visit Jammu city.
“The government should deliberate and discuss the losses being suffered by the business community in Jammu and take necessary measures for our survival,” he said.
Gupta said various government projects like Artificial Lake and Mubarak Mandi heritage complex were tipped to make Jammu an independent tourism attraction but these projects are moving at a snail’s pace.
His deputy Pritam Sharma was quite vocal in his demand for restoration of darbar move and said it is imperative for the survival of the Jammu business community.
“The business in Jammu is going through its worst phase as all hotels and lodges are running in losses due to no occupancy. If you are concerned about the people and restoration of our economy, restore the practice of darbar move,” Sharma urged the Lt Governor-led administration.
On September 26, Democratic Azad Party (DAP) chairman and former chief minister Ghulam Nabi Azad had also vouched for the restoration of the darbar move.
“The darbar move was beneficial for the economy in Jammu. During my chief ministership I also thought of saving the money (by stopping darbar move). The businessmen in Jammu requested me not to think of it as people from Kashmir come (in winters) and their sales go up by 1000 times,” he had said. — (PTI)