Roof unsafe over Prime Minister's head

New Delhi, Jan. 31: If those in charge of running India are looking to set their house in order, they know where to start.

The Prime Minister's 7 Race Course Road residence. And a touch of concrete should work wonders.

Nearly 500 bungalows in Lutyen's zone, including Manmohan Singh's official dwelling, have been found to be structurally unsafe.

All these houses came up between 1912 and 1930, when concrete was not used for construction. The structures are made of mud and, by modern building standards, have been found to be unsafe.

The list of 487 bungalows also includes the 10 Janpath home of Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and the houses of a host of ministers.

For the past five years, a note prepared for the cabinet on "rebuilding" the unsafe bungalows has been doing the rounds. But the urban development ministry, the parent ministry for the central public works department (CPWD), has not yet decided whether to place the note before the cabinet.

"Other than structural safety, these houses have outgrown their lives. Most of them leak and get damp in rain. We will end up spending much more on their maintenance over the years," said a senior engineer.

The issue first cropped up in 1999, when Atal Bihari Vajpayee was Prime Minister. A survey to assess the structural safety of Lutyen's bungalows followed in 2001-02. Based on the survey's findings, the CPWD came up with a detailed report by 2004.

The report identified most of the 1,200 bungalows ' spread over 2,800 hectares in the heart of the city ' as unsafe, but suggested rebuilding 487 in the first phase. The bungalows have to be pulled down and rebuilt, it said, and added that it would cost around Rs 3,000 crore.

The public works department proposed completing the work in 20 years, taking up two bungalows at a time.

Over eight years have passed since and the cost of building materials has gone up apart from labour and other expenses.

The cabinet note also says the houses need to be rebuilt because of increasing complaints from VIPs over their condition. But the urban development ministry appears to be hesitating.

"Dismantling these houses will mean the VIPs will have to be accommodated elsewhere. No one wants to face the discomfort of shifting. Then, security clearance is mandatory for any such move. Overall, it involves a gigantic exercise and there is inertia within the government to undertake it," said a senior ministry official.

Till the ministry decides to go ahead with the rebuilding, the public works department has to go on pumping in money to maintain these bungalows.

Matches

MORE TOP STORIES TODAY

Cleaning up the game starts with fans

Cleaning up the game starts with fans

... because, as recent events reveal, the BCCI has little intention of doing it. More »

Rajasthan square up to Chennai batting arsenal

Rajasthan square up to Chennai batting arsenal

Chennai have possibly the strongest top six in the current IPL, but Rajasthan have been buoyed by the return to form of their captain Shane Watson. More »

Hope to be fit for next game - Kevin Pietersen

Hope to be fit for next game - Kevin Pietersen

With two heavy defeats at the hands of Bangalore and Chennai, Daredevils currently languish near the bottom of the table. More »

Chandimal axed as T20 captain, Malinga takes over

Chandimal axed as T20 captain, Malinga takes over

Sri Lanka's cricket selectors on Wednesday sacked Dinesh Chandimal as Twenty20 captain and replaced him with Lasith Malinga, while Angelo Mathews was… More »

'A blow to BCCI, could hurt autonomous status'

'A blow to BCCI, could hurt autonomous status'

The Supreme Court prefers that the Justice Mudgal panel further investigate the IPL corruption scandal. More »

Have the ECB played an unfair game?

Have the ECB played an unfair game?

Money talks, but it is in light of this ICC shakeup that the ECB's act of soliciting of another team's coach deteriorates from free-market aggression to… More »

Perfect Punjab trounce Hyderabad

Perfect Punjab trounce Hyderabad

IPL7, GAME 9—Maxwell (95, 43b), Balaji (4-13) set up 72-run win. More »

Mudgal panel drops bombshell in court

Mudgal panel drops bombshell in court

The Mukul Mudgal probe committee dropped a bombshell in the Supreme Court on Tuesday by making a sensational claim that it was forced to stop audio recording… More »

Farbrace quits for England post

Farbrace quits for England post

He will assist Peter Moores who was unveiled as the new England coach on Saturday. More »

Moin appointed to manage Pakistan team

Moin appointed to manage Pakistan team

Pakistan on Monday reappointed Moin Khan as chief selector and manager of the national team, a week after fellow former captain Rashid Latif turned down… More »

Chennai smash Delhi for first win

Chennai smash Delhi for first win

IPL7, MATCH 8—Raina-led middle order, superlative catching give CSK a 93-run win. More »

SC asks Mudgal committee to continue

SC asks Mudgal committee to continue

Mukul Mudgal has communicated to the court his willingness to take up the investigation and has been asked to specify the terms and modalities on April… More »

'BCCI reputation lowest in 80 years'

'BCCI reputation lowest in 80 years'

The former BCCI president says he was "disillusioned" by the happenings at the emergent working committee meeting on Sunday. More »

Injured Bravo to miss rest of IPL

Injured Bravo to miss rest of IPL

Dwayne Bravo is set to be sidelined for at least four weeks due to a shoulder problem. Bravo sustained the injury when attempting a catch on the boundary… More »

NZC contemplates domestic revamp

NZC contemplates domestic revamp

New Zealand Cricket has put forward a proposal to reinvent its domestic structure and allow up to 49% private investment into the six major associatio… More »

Punjab pull off another big chase

Punjab pull off another big chase

GAME 7, SHARJAH—Maxwell, Miller, Pujara chase down Rajasthan's 192. More »

T20 test for Cheteshwar Pujara

T20 test for Cheteshwar Pujara

The class act from Saurashtra may have to rethink his approach to the mannerless format. More »

Special meeting to replace Srinivasan

Special meeting to replace Srinivasan

The BCCI is likely to convene a special general body meeting (SGM) in May to replace N Srinivasan on the board's disciplinary committee. More »

Roach escapes injury after car crash

Roach escapes injury after car crash

The West Indies fast bowler lost control of his BMW sedan due to slippery road conditions in his native Barbados on Saturday. More »

Shastri in proposed IPL probe panel

Shastri in proposed IPL probe panel

Some members stressed on the need for proposing names with an "impeccable record and clean image". More »

Day of Supreme reckoning

Day of Supreme reckoning

Apex court to decide on BCCI’s proposed new committee today. More »

Panel can help clean mess: Raghavan

Panel can help clean mess: Raghavan

The former CBI Director is one of the three candidates proposed by the BCCI to head the enquiry into the IPL betting and spot-fixing scandal. More »

Repose faith in Indian coaches

Repose faith in Indian coaches

All of them cost plenty of dollars which I feel is unnecessary for a two- month tournament, says former cricketer Yajurvindra Singh. More »

Cook relieved after period in limbo

Cook relieved after period in limbo

The England captain is looking forward to a fresh start after a dispiriting Ashes defeat last year. More »