Official circulars, review meetings, warnings from the Delhi fire service department — all these have failed to bring down illegal structures constructed in the heritage Parliament building.
On August 21, Lok Sabha secretariat had issued a circular to office secretaries of all parliamentary parties and Rajya Sabha officials, recommending “immediate removal of unauthorised structures”. According to top sources, only the Indian Coffee Board has removed a part of its outlet.
Lok Sabha secretary general TK Vishwanathan, who held two review meetings to oversee the eviction drive in the 90-year-old structure, told HT: “The progress is slow. We may request the Lok Sabha Speaker to call a special meeting of political parties for dismantling structures.”
Soon after scrutiny by the fire department, the kitchen — with a stockpile of LPG cylinders — was shifted out of the main building to reduce the risk of fire. But almost all important staircases and escape routes remain blocked due to innumerable illegal structures catering to offices of different political parties and leaders.
Top sources pointed out that even parliamentary affairs minister Pawan Kumar Bansal — who is otherwise committed to restoring the heritage identity of the building—has a part of his office encroaching upon the common space.
The Delhi fire department has also held back its fire safety clearance for the building as the illegal structures were not demolished as per its recommendations.
After a hurried scrutiny of the building following the massive fire in Mumbai Mantralaya in June, the department had first written to Lok Sabha secretariat in mid-July to clear staircases and other structures.