The state of the Mantralaya
It’s been over four months since three floors of Mantralaya, the headquarters of the Maharashtra government, were gutted in a fire.mumbai Updated: Nov 06, 2012 01:32 IST
It’s been over four months since three floors of Mantralaya, the headquarters of the Maharashtra government, were gutted in a fire.
The Mantralaya offices are still scattered all over south Mumbai and this has affected the functioning of the state administration which had anyway lost its reputation for efficiency sometime ago. Significantly, even four months after the fire, the government is yet to decide who will renovate the building.
Two of the three construction firms that submitted their bids for renovation lost interest after they were asked to reduce the amount. There are chances that fresh bids could be invited.
Considering the current controversy over bids, it could take another three months before a contractor is selected to do the same.
This also means the actual renovation will not happen for another six months. But then why anybody except the ministers and Mantralaya staff should bother about renovation or rebuilding of the premises?
First, the pace of state administration is severely affected as its departments are scattered, which in turn is affecting the state government’s functioning. Some senior secretaries point out how they spend half of their day just travelling to and from Mantralaya for meetings with ministers and colleagues.
Second, the citizens who have to approach Mantralaya offices for their work are doing rounds of different locations looking for the right officer or the desk.
Above all, it shows what is going wrong with the Maharashtra government. With the extra-cautious approach adopted after the series of scams, decision-making process has become too slow. Long-pending infrastructure projects are needed to be pushed, bold decisions are needed to solve the problems of growing cities, fresh initiatives are required to retain the industry but none of that seems to be happening.
No serious efforts are being made to provide better connectivity with far-off suburbs or building major infrastructure projects like Navi Mumbai airport which could lead to the expansion of Mumbai metropolitan area and lead to availability of affordable houses in short period. The state cabinet has rarely taken any significant decision in the past few months.
It is ironic but true that the sad state of the Mantralaya is symbolic of the state of affairs in the state government.