Plans afoot to bring all ministers under one roof

New Delhi:The Central government has dusted out an old proposal to bring offices of all cabinet ministers and their staff under one roof in Delhi. Plans are afoot to clear a proposal to construct a 19- story swanky signature building in the heart of Delhi, almost 100 years after British constructed the building that now house Rashtrapati Bhavan, South Block and North Block.

Currently, the ministries are functioning in different buildings in Lutyen’s Delhi. The move was earlier conceived by Jairam Ramesh in 2011, when he was rural development minister in UPA regime. Last December, Prime Minister, while reviewing functioning of the urban development ministry had also complained about the filthy and pigeon hole offices of ministries. He was also amazed to learn that offices are scattered all around Delhi. For anyone having a work linked to different ministries, running from one corner to another is a harrowing experience.

The move is also significant as many ministers occupy more than one office in government buildings and some operate from spaces marked for other offices.
The skyscraper, with all modern facilities is being planned to come up at Lodhi Road near Central Government Office complex. Besides ministers, it will accommodate their personal staff as well as secretaries of the ministries concerned.
Prime Minister in the review meeting had even suggested to construct a 50-story building to house all government offices. But the idea was shelved following concerns raised by security agencies. Also it was felt practically impossible to bring several autonomous bodies affiliated to various ministries under one roof.
“However, bringing all ministers and their top bureaucrats under one roof is a workable idea. It also addresses several security issues of the ministers that arise because of ministries being located in various government buildings, where a lot of public dealing also takes place,” said an urban development ministry official.

Currently, many ministers occupy offices in more than one building. Department of science and technology has its head office in Technology Bhawan in south Delhi’s Mehrauli area, far away from Central Delhi. The ministers who have an office in the Technology Bhawan also has an office in the CSIR building at Rafi Marg in the heart of the capital.
MoS incharge for department of personal and training currently occupies three offices. Jitender Singh has an office inside north block, in Sardar Patel Bhawan and in Lok Nayak Bhawan.
Even the minister for water resources has an office in the CGO complex and in Shram Shakti Bhawan on Rafi Marg.
In case of ministers having more than one charge, they have little choice but to have offices in multiple ministries.
“Space for a minister is not confined to the minister’s room. Rooms are engaged by personal staff of the minister. With all government buildings facing space crunch, multiple offices of ministers this takes away a lot of space,” explained a UD ministry official.
The proposal for having a common building to house the offices of all the ministers was first mooted during UPA 1. “The plan was to build a 19 story building for offices of ministers, their personal staff and the secretaries of the ministries. The plan also had rooms to hold conferences and cabinet meetings,” informed a ministry sources. The project however could never take off.
Now, with PM having raised a similar concern, UD ministry is evaluating the project. “A team will soon be constituted to undergo the study before the project is formally announced,” said a senior officer of the ministry.
With Agencies

Posted by on June 11, 2016. Filed under State. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.