The Mantralaya makeover project is nearly five weeks behind schedule, thanks to the uncertainty over the position of the chief minister’s and deputy chief minister’s offices.
The offices on the lower floors were expected to be shifted to the top three floors by April 24, but officials said work would not be complete before the first week of June. The top three floors were gutted in a fire in June last year, which claimed five lives. The restoration was expected to be completed in four months after the work order was issued on December 24 last year.
Officials said it is yet uncertain whether the CM’s and deputy CM’s offices and their aligned offices will occupy the first or the sixth floor.
Earlier, assuming that these offices would permanently be shifted to the first floor, lakhs of rupees of public money was spent on renovating their cabins, but the material used was neither fire resistant nor in accordance with the makeover plan submitted by the architect, an official said. “Apart from these offices, Rs1 crore was spent on renovating the library on the ground floor.”
Now, the police department has said that having these offices on the first floor may pose a security threat. “The police are not in favour of two people with Z-plus security operating from the first floor, which is vulnerable to security threats. A final decision has yet to be taken,” an official said.
“We are planning complete civil works of the fifth floor by April 15 and of the fourth and sixth floors by May 1. Electrical work, including air-conditioning, installation of fire safety measures, will be done after that. It will take four to five weeks. Departments will shift once the electrical work is done,” said another official.