Demolition at Soudha drives Opposition up the wall

Forest Minister Ramanath Rai says officials are to blame

Demolition at Soudha drives Opposition up the wall

Under attack from the Opposition for allegedly demolishing a partition wall in his chambers in the Vidhana Soudha, Forest Minister Ramanath Rai on Wednesday put the blame on officials, saying he had only asked for a good room and never gave directions for tearing down the wall.

Defending his stand on the issue in the Assembly, Rai claimed he had neither occupied the room nor was aware of any demolition being done.

“I have not done any mistake. It is the officials of the Department of Personnel and Administrative Reforms (DPAR) who have taken the decision in this regard. All that I had asked them (DPAR officials) was a good room,” he said.

He said he had asked the DPAR for a different room in the Vidhana Soudha, but by the time he could occupy it, somebody else had managed to take it over. Hence, he said, he was left with very little option.

The DPAR portfolio is with Chief Minister Siddaramaiah.

Spacious

To make the minister’s chamber spacious, a partition wall between room 304 and 305 (minister’s office) was brought down on Tuesday, resulting in the controversy.
The Opposition JD(S), BJP and KJP took serious objection to the alteration work undertaken in the minister’s chambers and demanded that he apologise.
Former chief minister B S Yeddyurappa, who raised the issue, termed it an unpardonable crime and demanded that the wall should be restored.

‘Not in right spirit’

Higher Education Minister R V Deshpande admitted in the Council that the demolition of a wall in Minister Ramanath Rai’s chambers was not in the right spirit and that action would be taken against officials responsible for it. “The chief minister has already given directions to act against those involved in it. We will ensure such things don’t recur,” he added.

It’s unacceptable, says CM

Expressing unhappiness over the demolition of a wall of secretariat building on the Vidhana Soudha premises on the instructions of one of his cabinet colleagues, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said such acts of any minister would not be tolerated in future,  reports DHNS from New Delhi.

The demolition, which was allegedly carried out by the Public Works Department on the instructions of a minister, has drawn flak from the Opposition in the Assembly. Speaking to reporters here, he said he would speak to the minister concerned and officials of the PWD and seek an explanation.

He said that as the secretariat was a heritage building, a strict instruction will be given to authorities concerned not to allow any alteration or demolition in any part of the building in future.

Ramanath Rai on Tuesday allegedly allowed demolition of partition wall in his chambers to make his office ‘vastu’ compliant.

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