LAHORE - After the Punjab government found it really hard converting palatial palace named 'Chief Minister's Secretariat' constructed during the previous regime into an information technology university for women, the incumbents have decided to turn 8-Club Road in to an Institute of Public Policy and Library. As per an official handout, this decision had been taken in the light of the recommendations of a high-powered committee constituted by Chief Minister Punjab to look into the possible use of this building. "According to the committee, the building is not fit for public use at all owing to security reasons as it is surrounded by the residences of senior judges, provincial ministers and Chief Minister's Secretariat," says the handout adding that the committee comprised members of civil society, media and administration, which lamented the waste of public money on the palatial structure. A senior officer, who was also part of the committee constituted by CM for giving advice on this, confided that Shahbaz Sharif had faced a huge resistance from all quarters concerned. "It was also suggested to him that the purpose-built office should be used by him, but he was of the opinion that he would not do such a thing after going public against this," said the source. According to the source, Shahbaz Sharif had explicitly declined to use the building as his office terming it as lavishness, while the government was on austerity drive. This fact was confirmed by Chief Secretary Punjab Javed Mahmood in a television talk when the CS said the CM did not want to house his office there. Secondly, he had also said the building would be used for housing think-tanks and the intelligentsia. "Interestingly, in one of his pre-poll addresses, Shahbaz Sharif had vowed to convert the purpose-built CM's Secretariat in to a university, but it could not happen in about a year since the PML-N reached the power corridors. This was followed by press conferences where former regime was bitterly criticised by the incumbents for wasting public money," said an officer, adding that it was marred by several difficulties of divergent sorts, while primary being the fact that it was a purpose-built secretariat for the Chief Executive of the province. "Consequently, despite tall claims at different levels, including political and administrative, virtually even a straw was not picked up for actualising the much-talked project, which had also faced bureaucratic resistance when baboos asserted that if it was an extravagance by Ch Pervaiz Elahi's government, then turning the Secretariat into a university will cause a massive dent to the public exchequer," maintained the source. The bureaucracy - major hindrance in making it a university - was of the considered opinion that after spending stupendous amount of money on the construction, it must be used for CM's office. "This was an idea floated by Shahbaz Sharif prior to becoming CM during the election campaign of February 18 polls, but it would have caused a lot of wastage of the public money considering the fact that the costly office paraphernalia had been wasted, besides spending more money on turning the purpose-built offices into classrooms and computer laboratories," said another source, adding that due to this, the idea had run into difficulty when the men from the chosen-bureaucracy resisted it. This was hinted at by Shahbaz Sharif when he addressed the Punjab Assembly after taking oath as CM. He had admitted that he had faced opposition from the bureaucracy, but vowed to turn the Secretariat into a university at all costs. On ground, as per sources, nothing was done for vacating the 'Mughal Palace' or 'a white elephant' as stated in the press talks. "Secondly, even if the complex was turned into a university, then one must had seen that its maintenance cost is huge," said the officer revealing that if something was to be done, then a feasibility report for university should have been outlined by the committee, but it was not done. "Now the impression is being imparted that it has come out as an emotional rhetoric and blame game because an adversary of the present political leadership, who had constructed this building, is being considered for a partnership," he maintained. This three-storey building housed the offices of the CM and CS, and their staff, a conference hall, a meeting room and staff rooms, while Rs 900 million were spent on its construction and the offices' paraphernalia cost Rs 25 million. Bulletproof glass was also used in the CM's office, while the conference room is bombproof. "These things are of no use either for an educational institution or the Institute of Public Policy and Library, but it is expected that the Secretariat would be used at some other 'appropriate time' as CM's office and hence would not go waste," he said asserting ultimately its best use would be as CM's Secretariat for which the building had been constructed because the rest of the ideas would be useless considering various odds marring all options considered so far.