New Delhi, July 24 (IANS) A smart city project and efforts to revive the heritage properties in Rashtrapati Bhavan were among some of the achievements which marked President Pranab Mukherjee’s three years in office.
Speaking to reporters on the achievements of Mukherjee in his three years in office, the President’s secretary Omita Paul said the thrust was on making Rashtrapati Bhavan accessible to the public.
“About 20 lakh people have visited Rashtrapati Bhavan in the past three years,” she said.
Mukherjee completes three years as the President on Saturday.
To mark the occasion, he inaugurated a restored clock tower at the President’s Estate on Friday.
The clock tower, a heritage structure built by Sir Edwin Lutyens in 1924, was built as an institute for men of the President’s Bodyguard and had reading and recreational rooms and canteens.
Since 1947, it has been occupied by the President’s Bodyguard as its Regimental Headquarter.
“We wanted to preserve the originality of the heritage structure. Restoration work of the clock tower has been done by INTACH while repair of the clock has been done by IIT, Delhi. The building was precisely documented and analysed prior to the restoration work,” said Paul.
The restoration undertaken includes preservation of original plaster, Kota stone flooring, repair of conical obelisks, cleaning and painting of fire places as per original design.
Talking about the efforts to preserve the original structure, A.G.K. Menon, convener, INTACH Delhi Chapter, said ingredients like lime, jaggery and blackgram has gone into the making.
“We tried to retain the original ingredients like lime and jaggery in preserving the heritage structure. We sourced lime from from Madhya Pradesh where the best lime is available,” he added.
Talking about the welfare activities undertaken among the workers and residents in the President’s Estate, Paul said a smart township will be ready by this year-end.
“The smart city is in the last leg. It is going to be a self sufficient township. It will have free wi-fi facility and will be able to manage its water and electricity use efficiently,” she said.
The in-residence programme initiated by the President was scaled up during the year with students and teachers also being included under its ambit.
Another achievement is the Phase II of the museum construction which is underway. This state-of-the-art museum will have a built-up area of 10,000 sq metres and will present the history of Rashtrapati Bhavan using modern, interactive techniques.
The highlight of Mukherjee’s third year in office was the visit of US President Barrack Obama as the chief of the Republic Day Parade. Mukherjee made six visits to foreign nations — Vietnam, Bhutan, Finland, Norway, Sweden and Belarus.
Paul also said special emphasis was given for conservation and renovation of heritage properties inside President’s Estate. There are 69 heritage buildings on the sprawling Estate.
Venu Rajamony, the President’s press secretary, said four books will be released on Saturday to mark Mukherjee’s three years in office.