Babus are not known particularly known for their accommodating nature. Their latest grouse — feeling choked at their new Mantralaya offices, remodelled after a blaze last year.
Piqued with their workplace’s new corporate interiors, which they allege erode the privacy and work culture required at government offices, the bureaucrats have decided not to occupy the offices allotted to them on the three freshly done floors of the building.
During a meeting held at Sachivalaya Gymkhana opposite Mantralaya on Saturday, some 150 state gazetted officers from the state headquarters took a unanimous decision to refuse to shift to the refurbished fourth, fifth and sixth floors, which had been gutted in a fire last year. Why? The restoration is cramping their style.
“In the name of introducing corporate culture at Mantralaya, a committee headed by chief secretary JK Banthia and contractor Unity Infra has provided extra space to ministers and secretary-level officials, but only after squeezing it out of our workspaces. They have provided us little room to work, without any proper ventilation. It is so congested,” officials griped at the meeting.
“Moreover, they have closed the wings, so we have to sit in a closed hall which does not even have windows. The doors are small and make it difficult to move from one section to another freely.”
Unless the cabins are given the space and ventilation they are demanding, no gazetted officer working at Mantralaya would shift to any of the three floors, it was decided.
The meeting was chaired by R K Dhanawade, president of the Mantralaya gazetted officers federation. An official at the meet said, “The public works department has refused to accept responsibility for the problem and is pointing fingers at the committee and the contractor. Now, we won’t discuss the matter with the chief secretary, since a meeting with deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar has yielded no positive response.”
“A memorandum will be submitted to the chief minister as we feel unsafe on the new floors. We are going to protest against the non-provision of separate cabins for joint and deputy secretary-level officials who deal with important issues and draft decisions, court affidavits etc,” he said. An official from the state finance department claimed a principal secretary recently allotted a new office returned to his old cabin on the lower floors, saying he found it difficult to work there without the amenities and technical support his previous office had.