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Rediff.com  » News » Gutted Mantralaya tries to regain lost glory

Gutted Mantralaya tries to regain lost glory

Last updated on: June 23, 2012 20:29 IST

Mantralaya tries to regain lost glory

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Two days after a devastating fire swept Maharashtra's secretariat Mantralaya, Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan on Saturday said all files of the Urban Development Department will be reconstructed within a month's time.

Speaking to reporters after a meeting of the department officials, Chavan, who holds the Urban Development portfolio, said all data related to the Urban Land Ceiling and the Adarsh probe are intact.

The chief minister said most files of all departments can be retrieved, as I-T Secretary Rajesh Agarwal said 80 to 90 per cent of the files are listed on the state data server.

Noting that the state administration was functional within 24 hours of the devastating fire which destroyed top three floors of Mantralaya, Chavan said he and his deputy Ajit Pawar would soon start occupying the first and second floor of the secretariat's main building.

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Photographs: Sahil Salvi/Rediff.com

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"Our endeavour is to start from Monday itself so that it sends out a symbolic message that the government is in place," Chavan said.

He said the Monsoon Session of the state legislature will commence as scheduled from July 9.

According to the chief minister, 1.90 lakh sq ft space at the G T Hospital Complex has been made available for re-locating the state administration.

"An area of 1.55 lakh sq ft was damaged in the fire," he said, adding that approximately 27 to 28 per cent of the area had been affected.

Expressing grief at the death of Mohan More, a staffer at the Chief Minister's Office, Chavan said More died while he was on duty.

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"I will visit his home to offer my condolences. A compensation package is being worked out for his family," he added.

As most of the computers were gutted in the massive blaze on June 21, retrieving data from hard disks is not possible, Chavan said.

Experts from the National Disaster Management Authority and IIT- Bombay will be informally inspecting the Mantralaya building, he added.

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Chavan said interim structural audit reports of the first three floors of the building have stated that the structure is strong enough, even if it is old.

"But we will have a thorough checking," he said.

Meanwhile, the barricades on approach roads leading to Mantralaya were removed on Saturday and traffic was allowed to ply.

Chavan visited the building in the evening to check the cleaning work going on inside the premises.

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Relief and Rehabilitation Minister Patangrao Kadam, Animal Husbandry Minister Madhukar Chavan and Home Minister R R Patil, whose offices had remained unaffected by the fire, resumed work.

Kadam said he took stock of the drought relief measures in the state.

"I sanctioned Rs 15 crore for fodder depots in Pune division, Rs 5 crore in Nashik, Rs 50 lakh for Aurangabad and Osmanabad and Rs 10 crore for water supply schemes in the drought hit areas," he added.

Meanwhile, Mumbai police on Saturday inspected two floors of Mantralaya and recorded statements of some more witnesses.

A team of the Crime Branch visited the fifth and sixth floor of Mantralaya as part of their investigation, said a police official.

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"We are recording statements of some more witnesses today. We are trying to figure out how the fire spread from one floor to another," he said.

The police had earlier inspected the fourth and fifth floor of the building and recorded statements of 15 persons.

The Crime Branch of the Mumbai police has been asked to ascertain if it was an accident or a case of sabotage.

It has formed four teams which would act under the supervision of Deputy Police Commissioner (Crime Branch) Ambadas Pote.

The huge fire that broke out at Mantralaya on Thursday gutted large parts of the 7-storey building, including offices of several ministers, and claimed five lives.

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Photographs: Sahil Salvi/Rediff.com

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