To revive the pristine glory of Vice Regal Lodge, the ministry of human research development has set up a high-level steering committee for restoration of the Victorian building that has witnessed scores of historical moments during the British Raj.
The central government has sanctioned Rs 50 crore for restoration of the historical building.
“This building is a great monument and whenever I go back from here, I have a sense of guilt,” secretary, human resource development, Ashok Thakur said, prior to heading for meeting convened to discuss the action plan prepared for restoration of the historical building that served as residence for viceroys during pre-Independence.
“The central government has sanctioned Rs 50 crore for restoration of the building,” he said, adding that HRD had to struggle to secure money to renovate the building.
“The steering committee will be formed in Delhi, while in Shimla a coordination committee will be set up under the chairmanship of IIAS director to monitor the restoration works,” said Thakur, further indicating that another committee could be set up that would be headed by the minister himself.
Thakur made clear that restoration works would be carried out as per the action plan drawn by Abha Narian Lambha Associates and that too in consultation with the Archeological Survey of India. “The roof of the building requires immediate attention as the seepage of water can threaten the structure,” he said.
Built in 1888 in Jacobethan style during the regime of Lord Dufferin, the historic building is facing structural distress.
The Vice Regal Lodge was renamed as Rashtrapati Niwas after Independence. In October 20, 1964, the then President S Radha Krishnan inaugurated the institute.
The master plan drawn by Abha Narian Lambha Associates points that weather vagaries have delaminated cobbled stones used in construction, while repeated alterations over the time have compromised with its historic interiors. Besides, the plan accentuated for checking the extensive water ingress and leakages that was threatening architectural safety of the building.
Studies found that overlay of modern interventions like changes in toilet fittings resulted in deterioration of the British era structure. Modern fittings in the washrooms resulted in water leakages and further led to loss of the historic fittings.
It was during the tenure of the then director, Peter Ronald D Souza, the institute engaged a private firm to prepare a conservation master plan. The action plan mainly focused on structural stabilsation of the building.
The total cost of restoration of the main building was calculated at Rs 92 crore. The proposals were cleared by the institute's governing body and further it was sent to the ministry of human resource development.
What action plan says
Appointment of consultants
Roof and terrace consolidation
Water discharge and drainage
Redressing geo-technical, geological and geophysical issues
Restoration of historic interiors, including interior spaces fittings
Conservation of historic services, including electrical, water supply, sanitation firefighting and mitigation system
Rationalisation of spatial zoning
Modernisation of facilities
Improving visitor amenities
Addressing the landscape
Restoration of other buildings surrounding the main structure