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Attendance normal at Collectorate
Security tightened at government offices
KOCHI: Employees at the Collectorate took their seats on Monday, the first working day after a minor blast rocked the district headquarters last week, in an atmosphere of fear and uncertainty.
Friday’s blast was on everyone’s mind. But, as if a serious discussion would be a bad omen, many weaved funny tales out of the incident, often making their colleagues the butt of the joke.
“Though they joked about the incident, the sense of fear was palpable and in the present social scenario, one cannot expect them to grow out of it gradually either,” said G. Motilal, a Collectorate employee and also the secretariat member of the Joint Council of State Service Organisations.
The ubiquitous television channel crews did not help to create an atmosphere of normality either.
While some employees were willing to acquiesce in the request for a sound bite from channel staff, for many others it was an uncomfortable reminder that they were no longer immune to terror, notwithstanding the fact that no life was lost nor anyone seriously injured in the blast.
As one lady employee admitted, the incident has come as a grim reminder that blasts were not a phenomenon confined to faraway Delhi and Mumbai.
On a day blast-related anecdotes dominated the Collectorate premises, many employees felt that the police were conspicuous by their absence.
“Maybe, the police have deployed men in plainclothes for surveillance, but their presence in uniform could have created a sense of security,” Mr. Motilal said.
Scared they may be, but the majority of the Collectorate staff turned up for work on Monday.
“Attendance was normal,” said Additional District Magistrate K.N. Raje.
While visiting the blast site, Revenue Minister K.P. Rajendran, had said that steps would be taken to tighten security at Collectorates and other government offices in the district. However, Ms. Raje said no specific directions had been received in this regard. However, a life among metal detectors and surveillance cameras could not be far away for the employees and visitors to the District Collectorate.
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