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Reading the Express this morning (State Planning Board building row: Fear is the key: Indian Express, March 16) I was amused to read of the fears that the employees have about Laurie Baker and his collapsible buildings. I am writing this mainly to assure them that in the 84th year of my life I am definitely NOT, repeat Not, looking for a job. My part in the current 'discussion' about the Planning Board buildings is purely as an appointed Adviser to the Government. Adviser, or just plain Laurie Baker, I deplore waste and intend to go on fighting it as long as I can.

Your correspondent mentioned the issue of lifts for the proposed building. So I would like to use this as one of the examples in this proposed building, of wasteful foolishness. The estimates showed that a million rupees are proposed to be spent on installing two lifts and housing them. These two lifts are to take a few people up to a height of thirty feet!

The reason I think this is wasteful is that we could build at least a thousand EWS houses for this same sum of money, so, at the risk of being told that I am a big bore, I am reminding the Planning Board employees that one small aspect of their planning is the task of housing over thirty million homeless families in India. Even the poor with homes are probably without lifts too!

Perhaps they'd like to hear of another example of their planned foolishness. In the proposed plan each Head of a Section is to get his own personal private `bath-room' attached to his office. If I remember rightly there are about fifteen such chiefs. The other 200 employees have about the same number (fifteen) of `facilities'. I find it difficult to believe that these days there are people who seriously suggest that an officer can or should only attend to the calls of nature in his own private 'bath-room'. While everyone else has to queue up to use a common pot-sorry, pan. No wonder that the Indian Airlines is mildly unpopular these days. If it thinks that 2 or 3 hundred passengers, including VVIPS have to use the same 2 or 3 'bathrooms' in its 65-crore rupee planes.

Yet another of these wasteful bits of planning is that there is to be yet another conference room and another library, besides those already found in the Planning Board's existing buildings. On the one hand it was claimed that the existing building is a fine old piece of architecture not to be hidden behind a new 'modern' structure and on the other hand it was said that the building is already fifty years old and so can be replaced by another new structure in a year or two.

Your correspondent also reported that one of the reasons for putting the new building on a site separated from the existing buildings by a right-of-way road to private houses, was to prevent the new building from blocking out the breeze to the old building. He does not mention that the main reason given for building on an isolated site was that if "We" do not use this little bit of land on the other side of the road, some other department would go and snaffle it up!

You can take it for granted that when my opinion is asked for in Government matters (and I do not give it without being asked) I shall continue to decry this sort of waste and foolishness – and the employees concerned should not forget that it is the department itself which has now admitted that they can cut down the cost from Rs. 65 lakh to Rs. 40 lakh if need be. I plead guilty of saying that I think there IS 'need be', and being a friend of Dr. Gulati does not alter my opinion one bit.