As it snowed outside on Thursday, an official inside the old secretariat here takes out an umbrella to protect himself from water leaking from the ceiling of his office and starts his work. “Isn’t this embarrassing, no, actually it’s funny,” said the official of health department inside his office at the old secretariat, blaming the estates department for ignoring this heritage building.
Look at the heap of garbage outside, the estates department pays no attention to clear the junk from this important department. They have forgotten this department long back.”The old secretariat complex is a heritage site so neglected that it now resembles a junkyard with mounds of garbage and discarded flies lying all around the classic, but crumbling structures.
Continuous snowfall disrupted work in many offices that function out of the old secretariat building housing many important government departments like Health, Social Welfare, Consumer Court, Vigilance and others.
“Very few people have come to office today, for during rain or snow the work gets disrupted here as water comes trickling down from the ceilings. Officials prefer staying home than to come to office because the water gets accumulated in everywhere,” said a clerk at one of the departments.
On the broken staircase of this old office complex, that was constructed as a palace for Dogra Maharajas in 1772 and later converted into a secretariat, rain and snow comes down from the open roof and accumulates all around on the floor.“It’s literally waterlogging in the secretariat. We have waterlogging on roads, but here we have it in our office,” said a security guard at the secretariat.
“As of now it’s still fine here, because once the snow will start melting the water will enter every department. And during monsoon its worse and the government is least bothered that one of its essential departments literally gets defunct in winter.”
As it is, the old secretariat complex is in a shambles. The staircases are broken, spiders dangle from cobwebs all around, antiquated windows from hinges, and century-old pillars are too fragile to hold the weight of the dilapidated buildings that have developed cracks.
The Old Secretariat complex, seat of the erstwhile Dogra power, was declared a heritage site in 1977 and for many years functioned as the highest seat of government after the end of their autocratic rule.