First time visitors to Shastri Bhawan might need help

Vol 9, PW 4 (01 Jun 05) People & Policy

First time visitors to Shastri Bhawan, home of the Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas, might find the experience slightly daunting.

Look up at the board inside the gate of this greying government building on Dr Rajendra Prasad Marg and it lists some twenty ministries housed inside. This, however, will not help you find the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas.

No - signposts will not help you here. Insider knowledge is crucial to finding your way around these labyrinthine corridors.

Once you have set up a meeting at the ministry, which in itself can take some time, you will undoubtedly be keen to get in and out of the building as efficiently as possible. But go to the wrong entrance, or gates, as they are known, and you might find yourself in an intractable discussion with a gatekeeper about whether the person you are meeting actually exists or whether he is in the building or not.

These people take their jobs seriously, but they can be overzealous, if not pedantic. The best advice is to be your own guide.

The first obstacle you will encounter will be a guard demanding a pass and trying to usher you to a desk to register. Affecting an air of authority and saying you have a very important meeting with oil secretary Sushil Tripathi, for example, is often a better bet than signing the book and hoping the gatekeeper is in a good mood.

Flashing an old library card can also work wonders. Then, head for the stairs, as if you know exactly where you are going.

Officials in the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas are easily found if you enter gate four. They are spread over the second and third floors of A wing.

Oil minister Mani Shankar Aiyar has an office at the extreme left of the second floor; oil secretary Tripathi sits in room 206; additional secretary Talmiz Ahmad is also on the second floor to the left of the stairs; joint secretary gas Ajay Tyagi sits in room 208B; joint secretary refineries Prabh Das sits in room 214 and joint secretary exploration Sunjoy Joshi sits in room 335A. (Back)