Pics: Joshwa D'Souza
Daijiworld Media Network - Mangaluru
Mangaluru, Dec 3: The long awaited Mini Vidhana Soudha in Mangaluru became a reality after eight long years on November 22, 2015. However, the euphoria of having a new swanky office premises for housing some of the key state government offices of Dakshina Kannada district, is short lived now that the reality is confronting all those whose work is associated with this office. The deputy commissioner has given two weeks time for the offices to shift to the new premises. However, it is learnt that the DC is flooded with representations from the public and organisations concerned, requesting for providing basic facilities before moving to the new office and not to act in a hurry.
The glaring shortcomings in the new premises is that it lacks proper and sufficient parking place, it is not disabled-friendly, there are no lifts (though district administration says lift will be installed within two months), toilets are not senior friendly and most interestingly it is said that the new office may not have enough space for registrar and sub registrar offices for proper functioning and even to preserve their records.
Former union minister Veerappa Moily while inaugurating the new building had said that it would benefit the public. Instead, it is evident that the new premises which is supposed to house all the offices related to Mangaluru Taluk administration under one roof, is not built keeping in tune with modern needs and requirements. The general public, lawyers, builders, agents, document writers and even the staff - are dejected and disappointed with the facilities or the lack of it provided in the new premises. While the staff being part of the government cannot complain it is the associations such as the Bar Association, CREDAI and a few more institutions who have submitted memorandums and representations to the DC requesting him not to hasten the shifting of the major taluk administration office until major facilities are provided.
The building no doubt, looks quite impressive both from inside and outside. While the entrance of the new premises is disabled-friendly, one cannot find similar arrangements inside the office premises. Suppose the registrar and sub registrars offices are in the 3rd floor as is rumoured now, those who have to go to these offices have to climb all the stairs to reach there. This would be a herculean task to the old and also to the not so old, unless elevator facility is installed. Additional DC, Kumar when contacted said "We have sent a proposal to the state government with an estimated cost to install the lift and that would take care of the major complaint". When asked how long it would take, he said, "We are planning to install the lift within two months". While the building itself went through a number of deadlines taking almost 8 long years for completion, one wonders whether installing a lift can become a reality here within two months time, unless there is a miracle. Till then the young and old, able bodied and differently-abled, fat, sick, those walking with crutches, wheelchair-bound etc., will have a tough time if at all they have to go to these offices for any work.
The public as well as the staff of some of the offices which are to be shifted here come to the new building to have a glance of the new building. Madhu Kumar, who is working as an agent at the registrar’s office helping people with documents, is apprehensive about the work atmosphere in the new building. Madhukumar says "I heard people saying there is no enough space for various counters and also for the maintenance of the records of the Registrar’s office. People come here for registration and other related work and there should be proper seating arrangements for people who have to wait for long for the work to get over. I hope the departments would take care of these aspects".
No doubt provision is made for parking at the basement where a maximum of about 30 to 40 cars can be parked. However, considering that this building has to house important state offices like the office of the Assistant Commissioner, Mangalore Registrar and sub registrar and land records, Revenue Department, etc., the footfall and vehicle movement will be much higher and parking will surely be a major difficulty at these premises. To make matters worse, there is no parking space available anywhere in the vicinity. In the absence of sufficient parking provision, people will be constrained to park their vehicles far away and will have to come walking to this office.
Except for the ground floor where both commodes and Indian toilets are provided there is provision only for Indian toilets in the second and third floor. That would be unfair to the senior citizens who might find it difficult to squat on these toilets. Or they will have to come to the ground floor all the way to make use of commodes.
Request for Corrective Measures
CREDAI president D B Mehta attributes these lacunae due to lack of coordination among various departments of the government. "Concentrating on architectural beauty alone is not suffice. Providing for basic facilities should be given top priority because ultimately it is the basic comforts that matter especially where have to wait for long. There should have been parking facility for at least 100 cars because it is the need of today".
The new office is quite bright with proper provision for cross ventilation and light. All the rooms and corridors are fitted with fluorescent tubes which could have been avoided. Going for energy saving and environment friendly LED lights would have saved lot of energy and reduce the hazards. Once these shortcomings were noticed many individuals and organisations decided to bring the matter to the notice of the deputy commissioner.
D B Mehta submitted a memorandum to the DC in this regard on behalf of his association. "We have submitted a memorandum requesting the DC not to hurry shifting to the new office until alternative arrangements are made to set right the shortcoming or enough space is provided for the registrar and sub registrar offices. All types of people including senior citizens will frequent these offices and therefore it is the basic necessity that the building should be senior citizen friendly. We are talking about Mangaluru as a smart city but somehow this kind of shoddy work does not go well with that smart city approach," Mehta pointed out. Mehta further says, "It is pity that the office of the registrar which earns almost 160 crores in stamp paper cannot spend a few more lakhs in providing proper facilities to the people in its new office."
Bar Association president S P Chengappa said that Bar Association will submit a memorandum to the DC inviting his attention to these shortcomings. "The new premises lack encouraging work environment. Apart from not having essential facilities it is feared that the space available at this office is less than what is available in the present Office. We have expressed our concern to the political leaders and want to bring to the notice of the district administration," he stated. However, additional DC Kumar denies these saying "2000 sq feet place each will be provided to one city and one rural sub registrar office as compared about 1400 sq ft space available in the old premises."
At present all these offices are functioning from the old and dilapidated building in DC office premises. Since the old building is prone to leakages and is damp the need to shift to the new premises is the need of the hour keeping in mind the safety of the people and also the records maintained in these offices. Let us hope the district administration takes corrective measures to provide proper work environment and essential facilities for the convenience of the people.