Jammu: The civil secretariat opened in this Jammu and Kashmir winter capital on Monday for its six-monthly sojourn. Chief Minister Mufti Muhammad Sayeed was accorded a ceremonial guard of honour when he arrived in the morning to attend office. Sayeed went around different administrative offices housed in the civil secretariat.
All the top offices of the state including those of the chief minister, his ministerial colleagues and senior bureaucrats are housed in the the civil secretariat. Following a nearly 170-year-old tradition set up by the Dogra Maharajas of the state, the civil secretariat shuttles between the twin capitals of Srinagar and Jammu on six-monthly basis.
The tradition originated in 1846 when the British East India Company signed a treaty known as the Treaty of Amritsar, handing over control of hilly areas eastward of the Indus river and westward of the Ravi river to Dogra Maharaja Gulab Singh. The civil secretariat closed in summer capital Srinagar on October 30. Sayeed, however, did not hold the traditional media conference which state chief ministers have been holding in the past. State Education Minister Naeem Akhtar, however, spoke to media on the occasion.
Akhtar said the economic package of Rs.80,000 crores announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi would go a long way in addressing the problems of development in the state. Asked about former chief minister Omar Abdullah s comment that there was no political message in Modi s package for Jammu and Kashmir, Akhtar said, "When they are in power they want India to bomb Pakistan and when they lose power they speak a different language."
He said the priority of the ruling coalition in the state is to "clear the mess created by the previous government". About the discontent within the ruling Peoples Democratic Party whose two senior leaders and Lok Sabha members are voicing their dissent in public, Akhtar refused to make any comment.