Kolkata, Jul 15: Writers Building, the seat of power in West Bengal, is undergoing a complete makeover with its occupant Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee personally looking into the changes to be made.
Work has first started in the Chief Minister's Secretariat as per the wishes of the chief minister herself who wants a ‘friendly' environment to prevail in her office.
Since the chief minister handles several major departments like home, land and land reforms, power and hill affairs, she has to meet officials and VVIPs everyday. She is keen to give a personal touch to the facelift of her secretariat as well as the entire building, built in 1780 by the East India Company, with its distinct Corinthian facade.
“A facelift of the state secretariat is most important prior to restoring the work culture,” Banerjee said as she sought cooperation from all employees' unions irrespective of political affiliations.
Under the plan, a photo gallery has been dismantled to allow fresh air from the water tank, popularly called ‘Lal Dighi', on the south of the building.
The photo gallery has been there since the time of former chief minister Siddhartha Shankar Ray, old-timers said. A make-shift office of the Special Branch officials and a tea stall behind the photo gallery have also been dismantled also removed on Banerjee's instruction to create more space.
With work in the advanced stage, the central corridor in front of the CMO already looks more spacious. The chief minister personally monitored renovation of the corridor in front of her office, re-arrangement of chairs for visitors and shifting of the bust of former chief minister Dr Bidhan Chandra Roy from the middle of the corridor to a corner.
She also oversaw the re-arrangement of a podium for the TV crew and other media persons. On the anvil is also the redesigning of the corridor in front of the CMO with suggestions by renowned artistes and painters with a possibility of making the area air-conditioned giving it a corporate look.
On the instructions of chief minister, the press corner was renovated giving it a look and shape of an airport VVIP lounge complete with all modern amenities. All tea and food stalls on the corridors were also dismantled to restore work culture among employees.
A cafeteria has been built by the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation Ltd within the precincts to serve tea, coffee, soft drinks and a variety of fast food for the ministers, secretaries, VVIPs and even the general public at moderate price.
Also in the pipeline is an air-conditioned food court to be built by the IRCTC at the ground floor to provide lunch dishes.
The proposed food court has, however, been objected by several leftist trade unions who argued that it would affect the heritage status of the building. PTI