State seeks Rs 80 cr for repairs, relocation
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The bill for the June 21 fire that ravaged the top three floors of the Mantralaya building is finally in. The government, in its statement of supplementary demands presented to the state legislature, has sought Rs 50 crore for repairs of the state secretariat building alongside an additional Rs 30 crore for relocating offices from the gutted floors.
In the supplementary statement of expenditure for 2012-13 presented to the legislature on the first day of the monsoon session, the Public Works Department sought Rs 50 crore for "repairs, renovation and electrification of the fourth, fifth and sixth floors of Mantralaya building that are seriously burnt and damaged".
In addition, Rs 30 crore has been sought for "shifting expenses, repair works and rent to be paid" for some administrative departments of Mantralaya that are to be shifted elsewhere. Among the other locations where Mantralaya staffers have been shifted is the plush World Trade Centre commercial towers in Cuffe Parade, where all four sections of the Home Department have been moved.
Apart from this, the Revenue Department has also sought the legislature's nod for assistance to the families of those who were killed in the fire. "A special decision is taken to provide Rs 25 lakh to the families of each victim," the accompanying note says. As there are five victims, a sum of Rs 1.25 crore has been granted, which was withdrawn from the state's contingency fund. The supplementary demand is presented to recoup the advance withdrawn from the contingency fund.
The government presented supplementary demands totalling Rs 4,606 crore on Monday, with the lion's share cornered by departments tackling the state-wide water crisis. For financial assistance to farmers growing cotton, soyabean and paddy affected by the drought-like situation, a sum of Rs 400 crore has been sought. A sum of Rs 50 crore has been sought for expenditure incurred on providing relief to farmers hit by fodder shortage and for cattle camps, another Rs 50 crore has been sought to provide funds to drinking water schemes that will be continued till July 15 or till adequate rainfall occurs.
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