The Chandigarh Administration has initiated the work to restore and preserve the architectural integrity inside the legislative assemblies and Courtrooms in the Capitol Complex, a UNESCO World Heritage site.
The Administration has set a target to complete the restoration work by March 2022.
Over the years, need based changes have been made inside the legislative assemblies of Punjab and Haryana and the Courtrooms in Punjab and Haryana High Court.
The cost of restoration project of Punjab Assembly is pegged at Rs 6.23 crore while the initial cost of restoration of Courtrooms is pegged at Rs 5.11 crore.
“The internal restoration work of Punjab Assembly has begun and is likely to be completed by March 2022. The restoration work as per the original planning includes removal of later interventions, recasting of terrazzo, fire fighting, HVAC works, restoration of tapestry,” said CB Ojha, UT chief engineer while talking to The Pioneer.
He said that the restoration work inside the Haryana Assembly has been completed and the work is now going on in the offices inside the legislative assembly building.
Ojha said that the internal restoration work in the Courtrooms in the Punjab and Haryana High Court has also been started by the UT Engineering Department. Initially, the restoration work would be undertaken in two Courtrooms.
The restoration as per original planning includes placing of carpets, curtains, wooden furniture and restoration of tapestry, the UT Chief Engineer added.
Notably, need based changes such as installation of air-conditioning machines and ducts running through the interiors, and subsequent damage to the tapestries in the High Court and the Assembly is visible.
Other changes include the original floor replaced with glazed floor tiles, wood and glass partitions, false ceiling extending into corridors and exterior spaces affecting the original form and space in these buildings.
Earlier, the Engineering Department had undertaken the restoration of the exterior concrete surface of the Secretariat and Assembly buildings in the Capitol Complex. Pressurized steam cleaning of the exterior surface was carried out by the Department.
The World Heritage UNESCO Site- Capitol Complex spreads over 100 acres. The main buildings in the Complex are the Secretariat complex, the Legislative assembly complex and the Punjab and Haryana High Court.
These buildings were inaugurated in the period 1953 to 1968. The ‘Open Hand’ monument, the symbol of Chandigarh, is also in the Complex.
Notably in February last year, a high-level delegation comprising Brigitte Bouvier, Director, Foundation Le Corbusier, France and officials from the Foundation and French Embassy had visited various heritage sites and reviewed the restoration work of heritage buildings in Chandigarh.
The Capitol Complex is part of the group of 17 sites - across seven countries (France, Switzerland, Belgium, Germany, Argentina, Japan and India) - designed by Swiss-born French architect Le Corbusier which were included in the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 2016.
As per the operational guidelines for the implementation of the World Heritage Convention, the UT Administration has to submit its yearly report to UNESCO elaborating about preservation measures and any new construction at the heritage site and its buffer zone.