The Intach plan will serve as a blueprint for future constructions

Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (Intach) has submitted a Comprehensive Conservation Management Plan (CCMP) for Rashtrapati Bhavan to President Pranab Mukherjee that would serve as a blueprint for all future constructions aimed at restoring the premises to its original plan as outlined by Sir Edwin Lutyens and others.

The CCMP was submitted to the President on Wednesday during a function at Rashtrapati Bhavan. Mr. Mukherjee had personally instructed that a CCMP be prepared to restore the President’s Estate to its original plan.

A Rashtrapati Bhavan release said Intach was then engaged as consultant. Professor A.G.K. Menon, Convenor, Intach Delhi Chapter, harnessed a team of over 40 experts in the field of conservation, urban design, landscape, disaster management, infrastructure and services for the preparation of the report.

Intach’s mandate, it said, 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-à-vis the original design intent, define view corridors, spaces and other features that establish the heritage characteristics of the area to be conserved, provide guidelines for future development and draft a CCMP.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Mukherjee asked the Secretariat to examine the report and draw a time-bound programme for implementation of its recommendations. He said a strong message should be sent across the country that efforts should be made to preserve and protect our glorious heritage and architectural masterpieces.

Living heritage

Secretary to the President, Omita Paul, said 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 was no repetition of the same. She said work had already begun to implement the various recommendations of the report.

The executive summary to the CCMP noted that while the status of Rashtrapati Bhavan as a Grade 1 Heritage Building defined the limits of intervention to conserve the building and the site, it also accommodated the highest office of the Government, including the residence of the President. This made it a ‘living heritage’ building which created genuine needs to cater to its efficient functioning. The plan was drafted to address both imperatives. It took into account the wider context of the Estate and its contemporary functional needs.

As a ‘living’ building the original design and layout was modified because over the years the functional role of Rashtrapati Bhavan precincts 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 was respected, which enabled the CCMP to make a credible case to conserve what remained.

The plan stressed the importance and need for continuous maintenance to conserve the heritage characteristics of the precincts. It also highlighted the need for a dedicated Heritage Cell in the Central Public Works Department.

  • Secretariat asked to examine plan

  • Contemporary functional needs taken into account