The Preservation, Repair and Restoration work of the biggest post office building in Mumbai GPO has been held up in bureaucratic web. The proposal to repair the heritage structure of Mumbai GPO Heritage Building, Grade I has been pending for approval of Postal Directorate for the last 34 months. RTI activist Anil Galgali has uncovered the lethargic, insensitive and apathy of Indian Postal Service attitude towards this issue. After RTI query by Galgali, Mumbai GPO Preservation, Repair and Restoration gets a node and government sanctions Rs 58 crore.
Legal and buildings committee of Department of Post revealed in a RTI reply to Anil Galgali that a proposal for sanctioning Rs 47.58 crore for preservation, restoration and repair of the GPO building was put up on January 29, 2016. This plan was drafted by Indian National Trust for Art & Cultural Heritage (INTACH), an organisation empanelled by the postal department. Although 15-20 per cent escalation of project cost is expected per year. An amount of mere Rs 30 lakhs has been sanctioned by the directorate. Even in this case, proper administrative approval has not been forthcoming. Experts view and help of outside agency like renowned Architect Abha Narayan Lamba was also taken in the year 2008-2009 and recently, the help of ASI (Archaeological Survey of India) also availed for Preservation, Repair and Restoration work.
“General Post office building holds a place of pride among the 633 heritage structures of Mumbai. But sadly, it is also among the four most dilapidated heritage structures, needing urgent work of Preservation, Repair and Restoration. In fact, the plasters and parts of the ceiling have been falling at intervals and the 1000 odd employees working from this century-old building live in constant fear of collapse. A writ petition filed in 2012 on the issue has failed to awoke a response from the Postal authorities,” said Galgali.
GPO further informed Galgali that many incidents of falling plaster etc. have taken place in Mumbai GPO, but there were no causalities. However, one serious incident of failing ceiling portion has already happened at Mumbai GPO premises. And injured person has filed Civil Suit under No. 4735/2012 against the Department of Posts. Court case is sub-judice for fixing vicarious responsibilities against the Postal Department.
Galgali has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi requesting him to expedite the restoration of Mumbai GPO. Apart from the employees, the lives of thousands of visitors to the building are also at stake. After RTI query by Anil Galgali and Written Complaint to Authority, Mumbai GPO Preservation, Repair and Restoration get node and Government sanction Rs 58 crore.