From junkyard to courtyard: PM Modi's call for cleanliness transforms govt offices
New Delhi, Nov 23 (PTI) Prime Minister Narendra Modi's call for cleanliness has transformed government offices here as areas filled with junk, discarded furniture and construction materials have now been developed into courtyard and staff lounges, among others.
For example, around 1,600 square feet of space above the 'Sancharika canteen' in the Dak Bhawan Annexe building was a dumpyard with unwanted items but the Department of Posts decided to transform it.
'Accordingly, after removing all discarded items, a 'vishrantika' (staff lounge) was made operational,' said Aman Sharma, Secretary, Postal Services Board.
He said 'vishrantika' has amenities for indoor games like table tennis, chess, carrom, etc., besides space for reading newspapers/magazines. 'It can also be used for official get-together,' Sharma told reporters.
Dak Bhawan has another transformative place called 'aangan', carved out from another unutilised space which was filled with typical discarded office items like old electronic equipment and discarded furniture.
'Walls of this courtyard, which has lots of plants, are adorned with Sanskrit shlokas that extol the virtue of keeping the earth green. This aangan has made a unique contribution to making Dak Bhawan a better workplace,' said Shailendra Kumar Dwivedi, Deputy Director General, Department of Posts.
Similarly, the Rail Bhawan, housing the Ministry of Railways, has made state-of-the-art office cabins in one of its wings, washrooms and corridors by taking continuous cleanliness activities on its premises.
A visit to its record rooms shows how thousands of office files have been arranged, without traces of visible dust, in compactors.
'File retrieval time is just five minutes,' said T Srinivas, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Railways.
Ratnesh Kumar Jha, Executive Director (Public Grievances), Railway Board, said a record number -- 23,672 -- of cleanliness campaigns were conducted during the special drive, 11.83 lakh square feet of space was freed and Rs 224.95 crore of revenue was earned from scrap disposal.
Briefing the media, Railway Board Secretary Milind K Deouskar said the Ministry of Railways has been acting very smoothly and efficiently on the cleanliness campaign.
'Office spaces have been beautified. Clean and modern washrooms have been made during the campaign. Besides this, the ministry laid special emphasis on grievance redressal. All grievances were redressed,' Deouskar said.
Innovative initiatives have been taken at the Sanchar Bhawan here, office of the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) under the Ministry of Communications.
At the Sanchar Bhawan, a gym, recreational room for staff and a canteen have been carved out from dumpyards and parking spaces.
'We have created a gym and a recreational room for office staff in the basement of Sanchar Bhawan. The huge space was earlier used to be filled with dilapidated furniture and other old items. We transformed this space which is now being used for our employees,' said S Balachandra Iyer, Deputy Director General, DoT.
Iyer said an advanced canteen has been made at a space freed from an unused corner of the parking space which otherwise had undesirable items.
The DoT has also engaged services of a doctor for its employees, he said.
The Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) and the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) also actively participated in the cleanliness campaigns.
'The focus of the drive was on institutionalising cleanliness and minimising pendency in key areas of work. Free space was carved out from areas filled with unwanted items besides disposal of seized goods,' said Shashank Priya, Member (GST, Central Excise and Service Tax), CBIC.
He said 63,345 physical files were reviewed and 32,044 of them were weeded out and 83,428 kg of scrap was disposed, besides freeing up of additional office space of 1,86,887 square feet.
'We also destroyed 3.66 crore foreign-origin cigarette sticks, 710 kg of narcotic substance and 9,000 kg of ganja,' Priya said.
CBDT chairperson Nitin Gupta said there were 966 cleanliness campaigns undertaken by the board, with a view to institutionalise cleanliness and reducing pendency.
'Grievance redressal is one of the objectives of the government. We are always working to redress them expeditiously. CBDT has also been appreciated for carrying out best practice (in governance) for creation of a self learning training capsule on grievance redressal on Karmayogi Bharat platform (Integrated government online training or iGOT portal),' he said.
The Home Ministry and the Personnel Ministry have also undertaken creative steps to transform its office premises.
For instance, record rooms of both the key ministries at the North block here have been beautifully organised to ensure easy retrieval of files besides creation of free space.
'The Personnel Ministry took part in the cleanliness campaign with great enthusiasm. The record keeping rooms were cleared of unwanted files which were weeded out. Now there is a lot of space and staff can easily retrieve the files in the shortest possible time,' said S D Sharma, Joint Secretary, Personnel Ministry.
V Srinivas, Secretary, Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances -- nodal department for cleanliness campaign -- said cleanliness activities will continue and ministries/staff will devote three hours per week towards them.
'The special campaign 3.0 brought in a number of success stories in digitisation, efficient management of office spaces, enhancement of office premises, environment friendly practices, inclusivity, protocols and mechanisms. Collectively, the special campaigns from 2021 to 2023 ushered in transformational reforms in clean office spaces while earning significant revenues from scrap disposal,' he said. PTI AKV AKV KVK KVK
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