Building intended as secretariat of LSG Department

Inter-departmental tussles are reportedly delaying the opening of Swaraj Bhavan here, constructed to house 17 major offices of the Local Self-government Department (LSGD).

Swaraj Bhavan, envisaged as the secretariat of the department, was constructed during the tenure of the previous Left Democratic Front (LDF) government using Rs.9.55 crore. But for some minor finishing touches, the work on the nine-storey complex, with a built-up area of 99,207 sq ft, has been completed.

When the State received the Panchayat Empowerment and Incentive Scheme Award (PEIAS) in 2009-10 and 2010-11, the then Minister for Local Self-government, Paloli Mohammed Kutty, decided to use the prize money to construct the building. A budgetary allocation of Rs.1 crore and money from other Revenue sources were used to start the work.

The civic representatives who reached the capital from various parts of the State were finding it difficult to reach the LSGD offices in different locations, sources said. Also, many offices were functioning out of rented premises and this was a drain on the exchequer. The space constraints were also causing a lot of inconvenience to the public, they said.

It was proposed to shift 17 offices including the Commissionerate of Rural Development; Directorate of Urban Affairs; offices of the Kudumbasree Mission; Information Kerala Mission; Clean Kerala Mission; and the regional centre of the Kerala Institute of Local Administration (KILA); to the new complex as part of developing it as a secretariat of the department.

In addition to the office space, the complex comprises an auditorium, with a seating capacity of 200; two mini conference halls; dormitories; and a kitchen. Ample parking space too has been provided. Official sources told The Hindu here that the trifurcation of the LSGD had derailed plans to shift the offices.

The offices of the Chief Town Planner, the Kudumbasree Mission and many others continued to function from rented premises and the government was paying a substantial sum as rent, sources said.