Writers’ Buildings has a new set of workers, distinct from the regular staff because of the chequered towels around their faces.
They are part of a workforce of around two dozen men toiling round the clock to gather stacks of files from the dusty shelves and put them in sacks for transportation. The towel protects them from the flying dust.
They were working since morning on Monday at the offices of the sports and animal resource development departments. All the rooms in the two departments have stacks of sacks, almost ready to move out of Writers’.
Both departments have to clear out by August 23.
Bags containing files were also seen in the corridors on the second floor of G Block and the ground floor.
Under the supervision of department officials, PWD workers continuously flitted in and out of Writers’, carrying sacks full of files and putting them on trucks parked outside gate No. 3 on the rear side and at gate No. 6 facing the RBI building.
The shifting, which began in earnest during the weekend, kept a large section of Writers’ busy on Monday.
While the sports department is going to the New Secretariat building on Strand Road, animal resource will go to the newly constructed Go Sampad Bhavan at Salt Lake.
“Furniture of both departments have already been shifted. The crucial part is transporting the files. A lot of steps are to be followed to make the process glitch-free,” a senior PWD official said.
The “excess” furniture from the two departments had been taken to the HRBC Building across the Hooghly.
Files have been divided into several categories and numbered serially. Two officials from each department and two others from the PWD have been chosen as nodal officers in charge of the shifting process. Each of them has been handed a list of the files.
After the process is completed, the department secretaries and the PWD secretary will tally the lists.
Many of the files are more than 50 years old, tattered but valuable. Some of these haven’t been “touched” for years.
The towels came in handy when the workers climbed up ladders and brought these old files down from the top shelves of iron racks.
The animal resource department has “split” the files into two broad categories: before and after 1990.
Officials said some files in the pre-1990 section date back to the 1940s. “It is a cumbersome process. There is a chance of making errors. That is why we are devoting extra time so that we don’t get hauled up later,” an official said.
While one part of Writers’ is busy with the packers and movers, another section looked relieved because they do not have to move out of the state secretariat at the heart of the city. “I am happy that my department is not moving out. Reaching the Mandirtala office on time every day would have been stressful and expensive,” an employee of the urban development department said.