Mumbai, June 28 -- If chief minister Prithviraj Chavan is to be believed, the Mantralaya will not shift anywhere and will not be redeveloped for now. However, the affected floors that are structurally stable would be rebuilt.
The top four floors of the building were destroyed in a fire that broke out on June 21. Questioning the construction of the seventh floor in the building in violation of rules, Chavan said: "May be they thought that the government didn't need permission [for construction work] because it gave permission to others."
When reminded that the successive Congress government, too, made irregular alterations on the other floors, Chavan clarified that it was done out of necessity. "The number of employees and visitors at the Mantralaya has increased in the past 50 years. We had to accommodate them."
On Wednesday, the state cabinet was apprised on the relocation of offices to various buildings and preliminary reports of the structural audit teams - one appointed by the state public works department and the other by the National Disaster Management Authority. Both the teams have opined that the entire structure, including the fire-ravaged floors, was structurally sound and could be used after refurbishing.
Chavan confirmed the audit reports but said that he would wait for further tests on the strength of the affected structure. "After receiving the report, we plan to redo the building in 3-4 months."
The CM also said that he has reported the fire incident to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress president Sonia Gandhi.
Published by HT Syndication with permission from Hindustan Times.