New nameplate reflects change in Writers' Building

Since early November 2000, the nameplate outside the first floor high security zone read “Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee”. But not any more. It now reads “Mamata Banerjee”. Bhattacharjee had taken over from Jyoti Basu, the first left Front chief minister who took oath in 1977.

With freshly plastered walls, panels and furniture, the most coveted chamber in the state secretariat looks spanking new for the new occupant—the first woman chief minister of the state.

“We have redone the walls, constructed a ladies’ toilet and earmarked three chairs—one revolving and two wooden. One of the wooden chairs is low, and the other one high. She can sit on whichever she wants to,” a PWD official said. Banerjee, who was sworn in on Friday, has also made it clear that she will not sit on her predecessor’s chair, which has now been kept in a small room adjacent to her chamber.

The new chief minister, who spent some time in her chamber on Friday itself, has expressed her unhappiness with the dim lighting arrangements in the room and directed that the walls have a touch of green, the colour of the Trinamool Congress. She has also asked for a change of the old carpet.

Banerjee, fond of songs and poems of Noble laureate poet Rabindranath Tagore, has ordered that a portrait of Tagore should adorn the wall. The corridors of the state secretariat had been witness to hectic activities over the last few days as a large number of carpenters, plumbers, painters and masons worked almost round-the-clock to spruce up the interiors of the 44 ministers’ rooms before the new set of ministers moved in.

The ministers’ chambers have been redone with new sets of furniture, and fresh coats of paint, while old wall panels and plywood cabinets are being dismantled and replaced with new ones. Some of the doors have also been pasted anew with plywood. A bank in the visitors’ enclosure opposite the chief minister’s chamber, which was used for collecting donations to the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund, has been demolished.

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