Kerala government nod for sound system music to ears of Secretariat staff
To everyone’s surprise, the government approved the idea and gave administrative sanction of `13, 440 to set up a music system.
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Staying cooped up inside a windowless room at the Secretariat and working beyond normal office hours had taken a toll on the health, both mental and physical, of the 20-odd staffers of the General Administration Department’s (GAD) All India Service (AIS) section. To combat the stress, they approached their additional secretary, M Anjana, seeking permission to set up a music system. The latter sent a proposal to her superiors.
To everyone’s surprise, the government approved the idea and gave administrative sanction of Rs 13, 440 to set up a music system. Unlike their counterparts in other sections whose offices are situated in open halls with proper ventilation, the AIS team at the secretariat is confined to a closed room in a limited space on the first floor of the old Assembly building, next to the chief secretary’s office at the North Sandwich Block of the Secretariat. Since there are no windows, they are cut off from the outside world.
Making matters worse, the employees work beyond office hours, and on most days, they are in the office till 8:30 pm. Ongoing electrical work is not helping either. “As far as I understand, the AIS team will put on soft music after normal office hours at 5:15 pm. They are not planning to have loud music blaring from speakers,” a senior bureaucrat told TNIE.
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The official said the team is not looking to cause any disturbance, as sound can be heard outside. “Anjana would not have sent the proposal if her team had sought to have television installed. These days, soft music is played everywhere, including in operation theatres,” said the bureaucrat.
Anjana, who served as the Kottayam district collector, is also holding additional charges of director of the social justice department, executive director, of the National Institute of Speech and Hearing (NISH) and head of the Kerala Social Security Mission.
Meanwhile, Kerala Secretariat Association, a Congress-affiliated service body in the Secretariat, was slightly sceptical of the government’s leniency in approving the proposal. KSA president M S Ershad told TNIE that the move may create a ripple effect, with employees in the remaining 42 departments, which have over 700 sections combined, in the Secretariat likely to make the same demand. “There are 4,200 employees in the Secretariat. I am sure employees in other sections will raise a similar demand for a music system,” he said.