Minister in soup over office renovation | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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Minister in soup over office renovation

mumbai Updated: Aug 19, 2011 01:19 IST
Dharmendra Jore

Social justice minister Shivajirao Moghe who got his Mantralaya office renovated by a private contractor recently, has apparently done so without the mandatory permission of the general administration department (GAD).

This means that when he asks for payment from the government for the renovation, he is most likely to be refused.

As per procedure, ministers need to ask the GAD to renovate their offices, after which GAD summons the public works department to prepare designs and work out estimates as per the minister’s requirements. The public works department (PWD) executes the work and submits a bill for recovery.

But in his case, Moghe roped in a private firm to create five cabins, furniture and cubicles for staff. The space is fitted with air-conditioners and modern fixtures.

However, as the PWD did not supervise the work, it is most likely to refuse to assess the cost of work and certify it for final payment. In such a scenario, the contractor will have to ask the minister to compensate him.

When contacted, Moghe told HT he did not know much about the makeover. “I will check with my office.” The minister’s reply was baffling because the work was carried out for over a month during which time he visited the office often.

Moghe’s personal secretary Rangnath Naikade confirmed that his office did not seek GAD’s permission before starting the work. “We have been asking GAD to renovate the office primarily because we wanted more space to accommodate visitors. When they did not move, the minister allowed us to do it on our own.”

Naikade said, “The contractor will not press us for payment and we will wait till the government approves.” But Naikade did not say what the contractor would do if the government refused him payment.

Though Naikade did not specify the expenditure incurred, sources said the renovation could have cost around Rs 20 lakh.

PWD officials said their office would refuse to assess work cost because they did not know the quality and quantity of material used in the renovation.

“We cannot approve of just anything and land in trouble,” said a senior officer who did not wish to be identified as he is not authorised to speak to the media.