Paan-stained walls, beggars a big turn off for expats | india | Hindustan Times
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Paan-stained walls, beggars a big turn off for expats

"They call it the secretariat. But the building is not respected," says Nigeria's Joo Chongwain , who has been visiting the mini secretariat for two days to register his temporary residence address.

india Updated: Sep 07, 2012 01:43 IST
Himabindu Reddy

"They call it the secretariat. But the building is not respected," says Nigeria's Joo Chongwain , who has been visiting the mini secretariat for two days to register his temporary residence address.

The Gurgaon Mini Secre-tariat, which houses almost all the administration offices such as that of the district magistrate, sub divisional magistrate, joint and deputy commissioners of police, has failed to impress the foreigners and expats visiting the Millennium City — thanks to the ill-maintained infrastructure.

A regular day at the government building sees beggars flocking around asking for alms, paan-stained walls, non-functional elevators and an unending wait for completing formalities.

Of all the offices, it's the foreign registration office (FRO) that is most frequently visited by the expats. Located on the third level of the six-floor mini secretariat near Rajiv Chowk, applicants are forced to take the dingy staircase to reach the office - thanks to the dysfunctional lifts.

"It's crazy here. I have been visiting this building for three years and the elevator continues to remain out of order. People go around spitting all over the place," said GM (initials), an executive from Germany who is part of a team building a power plant in Gurgaon. He has been making trips to the secretariat to extend his employment visa.

According to the FRO, most of the visitors are from Japan, South Korea and China. They queue up either to extend their employment visas or to change or register their Indian residence address.

For one such Japanese expat, who spoke on condition of anonymity, it was strange to see beggars walking around and asking for money in a government building. "This cannot be remotely compared with Japan. It is very difficult to even sit here. There are children begging everywhere and it is absolutely strange to me," said the executive who works with Japan-based chemical firm Nitto Denko in Manesar.

When contacted, city magistrate Vivek Kalia said, "All beggars will be cleared and shifted to shelter homes by Friday morning. All six elevators will be functional too." Kalia even gave out instructions to his juniors to address the complaints. When asked if Gurgaon's mini secretariat was making a good first impression of the country, he said, "Infrastructure is secondary. If we are polite to people, all other problems get nullified."