Renovation work in a heritage building needs the permission of the Chandigarh Heritage Conservation Committee, o such permission was taken
Three Punjab cabinet ministers have got walls removed in the Le Corbusier-designed Civil Secretariat to create bigger official rooms without obtaining “procedural permission” to make alterations to the building, which along with the rest of the Capitol Complex in Chandigarh is a UNESCO heritage site.
Public Works Department (PWD) Minister Vijay Inder Singla, sources said, was the first to get a wall removed in his office to make way for a bigger room by including the space me ant for his staff. Education Minister O P Soni and Sports Minister Rana Gurmit Singh Sodhi followed suit and work is in progress in their official rooms.
As per norms, renovation work in a heritage building needs the permission of the Chandigarh Heritage Conservation Committee. An office-bearer of the CHCC, wishing not to be named, said no such permission was taken. “We are not even aware of this. Had anyone sought the permission, it would have been routed to us through the Chandigarh administrator. And removing a wall is serious thing and most likely no permission could be given. But, we would have examined the site and the proposal before taking a call had anyone submitted an application seeking the permission,” said the CHCC office-bearer.
Singla, when contacted, said, “As far as my room is concerned, it was renovated after chief engineer of my department obtained all the permissions.” “Whatever permission was required, it was obtained by the chief engineer of [Punjab], PWD department. Nothing happened without permission. And if there is something extra to which I was not entitled to, I will compensate from my own pocket,” Singla said.