Almost 85 years after its construction, the government of India is hoping to restore Parliament of India to its original glory with the help of top architects and heritage experts from across the country.
The Central Public Works Department (CPWD), which looks after the maintenance of the heritage structure, has floated tenders asking private consultants, architects and experts to come out with a plan on the best way to conserve the building.
Officials said the building designed by Edwin Lutyens and Herbert Baker in 1927 will undergo “sophisticated supervision” by these experts. “The private architects and consultants will work in close coordination with government officials and they will chalk out a way for the maintenance and upkeep of the building. Cracks have to be filled up and drainage pipes have to be fixed first,” said a senior official, adding that there was no question of relocating Parliament, as had been suggested earlier, leading to protests.
In a report submitted to the Lok Sabha Secretariat last year, the Urban Development Ministry had suggested its relocation to the south of Vijay Chowk. The proposal was rejected by most members.
A committee under the direct supervision of Urban Development Minister Kamal Nath will look at various proposals by private consultants and the financial bid will be awarded after that.
“We are also thinking of getting equipment from abroad for the restoration process. The private experts and architects will give us additional knowledge on how to go about it,” said CPWD
Director General Ashok Khurana.
Explaining the need for the renovation, a senior official said: “The clutter inside the building has to be removed and the air-conditioner ducts have to be taken care of. Parliament was originally designed for 180 members but now has a much higher strength, including the support staff. There are a lot of temporary structures inside which add to the weight of the building.”
Added another official: “We cannot alter the entire building as it is a heritage structure. Little changes will be implemented that will result in a positive difference.”
A safety audit carried out recently had declared the Parliament House structurally unsafe. The canteen has since been shifted to the nearby library building to avoid the risk of fire due to presence of gas cylinders.