Maharashtra government employees returned to work at Mantralaya, the secretariat building in Mumbai, on Monday, four days after its top floors were damaged in a fire.
The fire broke out last Thursday on the fourth floor of the Mantralaya, and spread to the sixth floor, which houses the office of Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan. The fire claimed the lives of five persons.
Workers were seen setting up scaffoldings around the building to reconstruct damaged portions of the secretariat.
Returning to work after watching their offices and work files going up in flames, government employees and workers at the secretariat said they would now have to recreate all the records that were burned in the fire.
"We are feeling very bad because most of our files and half of our department has been burned. Our service books have also been lost. We would now have to create new records but that's alright, we will start the work at the earliest," said Premanand, a government employee.
While others recalled their timely escape before the fire escalated.
"I was in my department when the fire broke out. When the smoke started to enter our offices then our officer asked us to evacuate and said that we would return soon after the flames are extinguished. But that did not happen, the fire only grew," said Ankush Rathore, another government employee.
Chavan had a narrow escape, as he was in his office on the sixth floor at the time when the fire broke out. Victims were admitted to a hospital.
At least 21 fire engines were rushed while rescue teams were also deployed to ensure that the trapped employees are safely evacuated.
Fire safety regulations are lax, rarely implemented and not periodically reviewed in India, which results in the breaking of major fires, resulting in the loss of life and property.