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CBRI to undertake safety study of Parliament building

Jul 15, 2012 15:44 IST

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New Delhi: New Delhi: Questions over safety of the 85-year-old Parliament building in the event of a quake have prompted the Lok Sabha Secretariat to ask a premier research institute to undertake a study of the structure.

Roorkie-based Central Building Research Institute (CBRI) has been asked to undertake the study on finding whether the Parliament building will be able to withstand a major quake.

Parliament of India. Reuters

The CBRI has been vested with the responsibility of generating, cultivating and promoting building science and technology in the service of the country.

Besides, the National Disaster Management Authority has also been approached to detail the measures to be taken in the event of a quake, said Lok Sabha Secretary General TK Viswanathan.

He said soon detachable ladders will be deployed in the building for fast evacuation of people inside, especially from the top floor in case of an emergency.

The Mantralaya fire in Mumbai has made the Parliament authorities to virtually burn the midnight oil for ensuring safety and security in the heritage building.

As a first step, Viswanathan said efforts are being made on a war footing to secure a 'no objection certificate' from the Delhi Fire Service "which we have never got so far".

Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar had directed the secretariat to take all possible precautions and steps in the wake of the Mantralaya fire in Mumbai.

Viswanathan had held a meeting with the CPWD officers last month. The meeting saw a report being presented on the encroachment in various parts of the Parliament House building.

The view was that these encroachments were dangerous in case of a fire incident as most of the escape routes -- staircase on different floors are blocked either by structures or by unused furniture and pantries.

Reports earlier had it that a spate of changes to the original design of the Parliament House, so as to accommodate the growing number of MPs, their staff and security, has been identified as reasons for "endangering" the structural stability of the complex.

These changes include toilet blocks added over the years, additional rooms, covering of spaces designated as open courtyards and niches created even on the staircases to meet the growing demand for space.

The Parliament House is a Grade I heritage structure, designed by Edwin Lutyens and Hervert Baker. It has to be conserved in accordance with certain guidelines and its specifications cannot be altered.

The Lok Sabha Speaker has already set up a Joint Committee on Maintenance of Heritage Character and Development of Parliament House Complex.

PTI