Mukherjee receives comprehensive conservation management plan for Rashtrapati Bhavan

New Delhi, June 27 (ANI): A Comprehensive Conservation Management Plan (CCMP) for the President's estate was submitted to President Pranab Mukherjee by Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) at a function here at Rashtrapati Bhavan.

President Mukherjee after assuming office had personally instructed that a CCMP be prepared to serve as a blue print for all future constructions so as to restore the President's Estate to the best extent possible, to its original plan as outlined by Sir Edward Lutyens and others who planned the complex.

INTACH was then engaged as consultant for the purpose and convenor of its Delhi Chapter Prof A.G.K. Menon, harnessed a team of over 40 experts in the field of conservation, urban design, landscape, disaster management, infrastructure and services etc. for the preparation of the report.

INTACH's mandate was to identify the original planning principles of Rashtrapati Bhavan and its relation to the overall Master Plan of New Delhi in terms of urban and landscape design, establish the significance of existing layout vis-a-vis the original design intent, define view corridors, spaces and other features that establishes the heritage characteristics of the area to be conserved, provide guidelines for future development and draft a CCMP for the Rashtrapati Bhavan.

Speaking on the occasion, Mukherjee asked the Secretariat to examine the report and draw up a time bound programme for the implementation of its recommendations.

He said conservation efforts of the Rashtrapati Bhavan should send a strong message across the country that every effort should be made to preserve and protect our glorious heritage and architectural master pieces.

Secretary to the President, Omita Paul assured that every effort would be made to maintain and preserve the Rashtrapati Bhavan. Attempts would be made to rectify the mistakes of the past and ensure that there is no repetition of the same in future.

She said work has already begun to implement the various recommendations of the report.

The executive summary to the CCMP notes that while the status of Rashtrapati Bhavan as a Grade 1 Heritage Building defines the limits of intervention to conserve the building and the site, it also accommodates the highest office of the Government, including the residence of the President.

This makes it a 'living heritage' building, which creates genuine, needs to cater to its efficient functioning. The CCMP has been drafted to address both imperatives. The vision guiding the preparation of the CCMP has taken into account the wider context of the Estate and its contemporary functional needs.

As a 'living' building the original design and layout has, been modified, because over the years, the functional role of Rashtrapati Bhavan precinct increased tremendously, both in size and complexity. By and large, however, in the process of incremental development over the years, the integrity of the original design has been respected, which enables the CCMP to make a credible case to conserve what remains.

The CCMA stresses the importance and need for continuous maintenance to conserve the heritage characteristics of Rashtrapati Bhavan precincts. It also highlights the need for a dedicated heritage cell in the central public works department (CPWD). (ANI)

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