Mumbai: Maharashtra chief minister Prithviraj Chavan on Friday said his?government will seek the assistance of organizations such as software lobby National Association of Software and Services Companies (Nasscom) and consultancy firm KPMG India to retrieve data from the 2,000-odd computers damaged in Thursday’s blaze that engulfed Mantralaya, the state government’s headquarters.
The fire that lasted for close to 12 hours claimed five lives, destroyed files, offices and property at Maharashtra’s state secretariat.
“I had a discussion with representatives of Nasscom and KPMG. If needed, we will take help of foreign experts also. Our first priority is to start normal functioning of the state secretariat from Monday. Meanwhile, we will be using different premises for the functioning of various offices that were completely destroyed by the fire,” Chavan told reporters at his office in Vidhan Bhavan.
Dismissing speculation about sensitive files being destroyed in the fire, Chavan said the files are available at the divisional commissioner’s office. “The only thing we require to do is to reconstruct them,” he said, adding that the document generation management system will help track the progress of files and aid in the reconstruction.
Destruction aftermath: A view of the charred Mantralaya building, which houses the Maharashtra state secretariat, in Mumbai. Photo: Indranil Mukherjee/AFP
Besides this, the notings made by officials and ministers on files that reach the chief minister’s office were being scanned and saved in separate files, “so we also know the line of action proposed by the various officials because of which the decision-making process will be seamless without any further delays,” said Chavan.
A state government official, who didn’t want to be identified, said it may take at least three to six months to reconstruct all the files.
A crime branch inquiry will seek to establish any wrongdoing, the state government said. Forensic and fire management experts will also be involved in trying to find the cause of the fire and how such incidents can be prevented, it added.
Union agriculture minister and former state chief minister Sharad Pawar met senior cabinet ministers, including Chavan and deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar.
“Experts in the field of disaster management have told me that buildings where the fires rage for more than five to six hours become structurally weak; so the state government may have to go in for redevelopment of Mantralaya,” Pawar said.
The state may have to pay for this out of its own coffers. In 2009, after controversies related to the tendering process, the then chief minister, Ashok Chavan, had to shelve a plan to redevelop Mantralaya through the public private participation model.
Speaking on the possibility of redevelopment, Chavan said, “Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation and the Mumbai Metropolitan Regional Development Authority have been assigned to carry out a structural audit. Any decision on this issue will be taken only after the structural audit report becomes available.”