The HRBC building in Howrah is set to start functioning as a full-fledged state secretariat on Thursday, minus Mamata Banerjee.
The chief minister isn’t scheduled to check in at her new office on the western side of the Hooghly until Saturday, but at least three ministers will head for Howrah instead of Writers’ on Thursday morning.
The wings of government moving to Howrah include the chief minister’s office, the police directorate and the finance, home, information and cultural affairs, personnel and administrative reforms, agriculture, minority affairs, disaster management, public works, land and land reforms departments.
Metro does a recce of the new secretariat, which Mamata has named Nabanna, ahead of its first-day-first-show.
The government has unofficially relaxed the check-in time for employees of the 11 departments shifting to the HRBC building for the first week — it may be extended — to make the transition smooth.
A senior official at Writers’ said employees of these departments had been informally told that they could sign the attendance register after the scheduled cut-off, 10.15 am, for a week.
“The state transport department will run more buses to the HRBC building from different locations in the city and Howrah after Puja. So we have to give some leeway,” he added.
Day 1 stars
Finance minister Amit Mitra is expected to start working out of his new office from the very first day. His department was among those that had completed shifting furniture, files and other paraphernalia by Wednesday evening. The other cabinet members ready for a Day 1 debut include PWD minister Sudarshan Ghosh Dastidar and agriculture minister Moloy Ghatak.
Chief secretary Sanjay Mitra will be among the early birds, a source said.
Since the chief minister won’t be attending office in Howrah until after Mahalaya, some furniture and other items, including her computer, won’t be moved out of Writers’ till she steps out on Thursday. Almost everything else in the sprawling chief minister’s office across the river is new.
The furniture in the chief minister’s conference room was shifted to Howrah late on Thursday.
Installation of computers in various departments is still in progress and the local area network, or LAN, won’t be ready before the weekend, engineers said.
The chief secretary was said to be livid over BSNL’s failure to get all the telephones — the same numbers as in Writers’ — working before the new secretariat’s debut.