With the change of guard in the State, the Secretariat is to move back to Fort St. George, the 17th century vestige of the British rule.

On Saturday evening, workers were frantically washing the exterior of the Fort on the eastern side. The second floor of the old block of the Fort, where the offices of Chief Secretary and Public Secretary were originally located, was being cleaned.

Sources say that instructions have been given for getting ready the old Assembly Chamber and rooms of Ministers.

For the last four-five months, Ministers of the outgoing government and senior officers, including Chief Secretary, Home Secretary and Public Secretary, functioned from the new Secretariat-Assembly complex on Omandurar Government Estate. On several occasions, the Cabinet meetings were also held.

Jayalalithaa stand

In May last year, All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam general secretary Jayalalithaa had told the party executive that in the event of its victory in the Assembly elections, the party would again make Fort St. George the citadel of power. In a debate in the Assembly, senior leader of the AIADMK O. Paneerselvam had reiterated this position.

At present, the old Assembly Chamber is being used as a reference library of the Central Institute of Classical Tamil (CICT).

The library has a collection of 37,000 titles and 3,000 compact discs containing 41 classical works.

Prof. Sivamani, coordinator in-charge of the library, says the State government has sounded him to move out of the Fort at the earliest.

Officials have assured him of all the logistical support for the shift.

The library has indicated its requirements to the State government for alternative accommodation, he says, adding that the shifting will be done in a day or two.