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The iconic main building of the Rashtrapati Bhavan is soon expected to undergo a major conservation drive that will enhance its pristine and majestic glory. The Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) has undertaken a project to analyse the famed "main building" of the President's Estate and a report in this regard will be presented to President Pranab Mukherjee in the next two months time. "The main building is fine and there are no big issues but there are some concerns. We will be carrying out an assessment of the entire main building that also houses the family wing.
A report will be submitted to the President," Director (Projects) at INTACH Ajay Kumar told PTI. INTACH is a non-profit heritage conservation body based in the national capital. The Rashtrapati Bhavan was the erstwhile residence of the British Viceroy and was made after it was decided in the Delhi Durbar of 1911 that the capital of India would be shifted from Calcutta to Delhi in the same year. The vast mansion has got four floors and 340 rooms. With a floor area of 2,00,000 square feet it is built by using 700 million bricks and three million cubic feet of stone. While interacting with the media about the steps taken to preserve and conserve the heritage of various buildings and architecture in the Rashtrapati Bhavan, Kumar said the organisation has completed work for the conservation of two clock towers and two museums in the President's Estate so far. We are now working on at least eight buildings belonging to the President's Body Guard (PBG) and further more projects will be undertaken, he said at a press meet convened to mark the International Day For Monuments and Sites today. INTACH convener Swapna Liddle said the effort of the experts of the organisation and others is to prepare a comprehensive management plan and scientifically analyse the buildings' requirements so that they can be made liveable with the present times that require amenities like an air conditioner and mobile ports. "The Rashtrapati Bhavan is a heritage building but is also a living building as people reside here. We have to conserve it in such a way that it functions as per today's needs," Liddle said. The experts of INTACH, in collaboration with other conservationists, are using traditional materials and methods to conserve these buildings, she said. The Rashtrapati Bhavan has 65 buildings or structures. "We have used things like lime juice, brick powder, granules, non-salty sand, jaggery and similar things in a paste form to restore the pristine glory of the structures here in the President's Estate," Kumar said. The total expenditure so far, including that for installing electric fixtures and coolers, has been about Rs 10 crore for the restoration of the few buildings, he added.
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