`Mantralaya to be functional in three months`
Mumbai: The Maharashtra government`s fire-ravaged administrative headquarters, Mantralaya, is expected to be fully functional within three months, Public Works Department Minister Chhagan Bhujbal said here on Saturday.
Bhujbal, who inspected the building on Saturday afternoon, informed Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan that the structure could be repaired and renovated to start the secretariat`s functioning as before within three months.
Meanwhile, Chavan, Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar and several other ministers will shift on Monday to alternate offices on the three lower floors that did not sustain much damage, Bhujbal said.
A team of private experts which inspected the three lower floors of the ground-plus-six floor building Saturday cleared them for normal functioning, the minister added.
"We shall acquire fire-proof plywood, top quality modular furniture from reputed manufacturers, spartek tiles and other things to carry out interior repairs and renovation work on a war-footing," Bhujbal said.
While the chief minister, whose existing sixth-floor office has not been cleared by the fire brigade, will occupy the first floor office of Health Minister Suresh Shetty, the Deputy Chief Minister will function from the second-floor office-room belonging to Water Resources Minister Sunil Tatkare, he said.
Other ministers and key officials have already announced plans to operate from their offices in the Maharashtra Legislature building, or from the new administrative building -- both across the road opposite Mantralaya.
Besides, the PWD has requisitioned 56,000 square feet in the GT Hospital, near Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, and another 30,000 square feet from the MTNL Cooperate Telephone Exchange Building near Mantralaya.
Several government offices and ministries that were in Mantralaya will shift and operate from new premises for the time being, the minister said.
Incidentally, two elevators, which have been non-functional for several years at the GT Hospital, have been ordered to be repaired within two weeks for the benefit of the staffers who will move there from Monday.
Teams of PWD workers, supervisors and engineers numbering nearly 1,000 are working round-the-clock to make these places ready for normal work, he said.
The huge fire on Thursday gutted large parts of the top four floors of the iconic building. The blaze was doused after nearly 27 hours and cooling operations will continue till next Thursday.
The fire claimed five lives and left 16 injured, including several officials.
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