Jaya justifies decision to function from St George Fort
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Last Updated: Friday, May 20, 2011, 13:30
  
Chennai: Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa, who has chosen to function from St George Fort housing the Assembly and Secretariat instead of the upcoming new complex on, Friday said there was no political bias against the previous DMK government-initiated project.

Jayalalithaa, who had earlier criticised the lack of aesthetic appeal of the new complex and described it as a "circus tent", said the decision to stick to the 17th century building was borne out of administrative considerations.

"Some persons have opined that I have chosen to work from St George Fort since the new Assembly-Secretariat complex project was taken up by the previous DMK government. It is pretty well-known that I don't take decisions based on political bias," Jayalalithaa, who took over reins of the administration on Monday, said.

The AIADMK chief, in a statement here, said it was the DMK which tried to "create hurdles" when she tried to shift the Assembly-Secretariat elsewhere during her earlier tenure as Chief Minister. "The then environment minister TR Baalu did this at the behest of DMK chief M Karunanidhi".

Insisting that she was not against construction of a new complex to house the Legislative Assembly and Secretariat, she, however, said the one at Omandurar Government Estate is yet to be completed was "not fit to function".

"Started in 2008, the facility was inaugurated in March 2008 (by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh) even as it was not completed. The dome was not finished and a replica was mounted there for which Rs 3 crore was wasted", she said.

"If the building had been completed, then why didn't the previous (DMK) government shift all the departments there on the day of its inauguration? Karunanidhi decided to work from there only to ensure that he did so before his term came to an end," Jayalalithaa said.

Only the departments held by Chief Minister and Deputy Chief Minister were shifted there, she said, adding besides them only a few others of the total of 36 departments could be accommodated.

"Since everything was being done in haste, two Secretariats, one from Fort and one from new complex, were functioning. Only if the second block is completed can the rest of the departments be shifted there, but it will take a year to complete the construction," she said.

She asked how can effective governance be delivered if six departments functioned at one place and the rest 30 at another. "If Ministers and their secretaries are divided by a distance of two km, how can they function. Only the people should tell," she said.

PTI


First Published: Friday, May 20, 2011, 13:30


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