Centre approves renovation of heritage building of IIAS


Shimla, Oct 21: The heritage building of Indian Institute of Advanced Study (IIAS), which used to be the residence of viceroy from 1888 till Independence, will soon be renovated.
Union ministry of human resource development (MHRD) has recently given its in-principle approval for the renovation of the heritage building which was renamed as Rashtrapati Nivas after Independence, IIAS director Makarand R Paranjape said on Monday.
The building spread over about 330 acres will be renovated with a cost of Rs 66.33 crores, Pranajape accompanied by IIAS secretary Colonel Vijay K Tiwari said.
Then President Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan conceived in 1965 the idea of housing the IIAS in the building and directed the government to take necessary action. He later inaugurated the institute on October 20, 1965.
The viceroy lodge will be refurbished and renovated under the supervision of Archeological Survey of India (ASI) in such a way so that its heritage value should remain intact, Pranajape said.
Central Public Works Department (CPWD) will soon invite tenders to start its renovation work which may continue for two-three years, he added.
When Simla became the summer capital of British India in 1864, a search was mounted for a suitable location to house the Viceregal establishment. The plan to build the residence of viceroy at observatory hill was conceived by lord Lytton and brought to fruition during the viceroyalty of lord Dufferin. The Dufferins moved into the viceregal lodge on July 23, 1988.
Carved of grey Himalayan sandstone, the lodge, a judicious blend of Elizabethan and Scottish architectural forms, with wood-panelled walls and a magnificent stairway, witnessed some memorable historic round tables as well as pivotal 'Simla Conference' of 1945.
The building has hosted most of our national leaders Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad and others from time to time who were here in connection with political dialogues and conference with the British that finally culminated in the Independence in 1947.
Meanwhile, a three-day celebration from October 20 has been organised by IIAS to mark its 54th foundation day. During inauguration of the three-day event on Sunday, Neela Bhagwat of Gwalior gharana spellbound the audience with her musical performance. Himachal Vidhan Sabha Speaker Dr Rajeev Bindal formally inaugurated the three-day celebrations.