CPWD decides not to take up any renovation, maintenance work this year

The Central Public Works Department (CPWD) has decided not to take up any renovation and maintenance work of government accommodation this year. The CPWD said it was because of the “meagre amount of budget” allocation for the purpose, besides the “situation has further become serious” owing to the pending liabilities of the previous year. It asked officials to closely monitor expenditure and reduce it to a “bare minimum”. For new accommodation allotted by the CPWD, it said, it would not approve any construction that increased the plinth area and that there should be minimum changes to the existing walls and partitions and no relocation of bathroom, kitchen, and stores. Also, electrical and bathroom fittings and kitchen items would not be replaced, if in good condition. Our ministers, MPs, and others are infamous for getting large-scale alterations done in the official bungalows by the CPWD. It would be interesting to see how long these restrictions would be in place, or whether exceptions would be made soon enough.

Time no bar

Court proceedings through video are throwing up various pictures. Last week, the Supreme Court admonished a lawyer for arguing from home in pyjamas. A Canadian court recently chastised a woman lawyer for arguing from the bed. Time zones also seem to pose new challenges. Senior lawyer Harish Salve argued the other day on video all the way from London for the Odisha government. Solicitor General Tushar Mehta was curious to know the time it was in London. Salve said it was 6:40 am. “I woke up early in the morning, will finish the court work and go back to take a nap,” Salve apparently replied.

Clout determiner

When the Congress government in Madhya Pradesh was toppled in March and the Bharatiya Janata Party was preparing to form a new one, Narottam Mishra had emerged among the key contenders for the chief minister’s office. Political calculations, however, went in favour of Shivraj Singh Chouhan, who became the Chief Minister for a record fourth term and Mishra had to be content with portfolios like home and health. It looks like he is back in the groove. In a recent development, his son-in-law Avinash Lavania was appointed the collector of Bhopal. Lavania had been appointed the Bhopal Municipal Corporation commissioner in 2018, but was removed soon after the Congress came to power.

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