Sub : IBC Awards for Excellence in Built Environment – 2003.

In form of letter to Secretary MoUD, posted after letter to CoA

"...regarding, her views on the award for 'the players building retrofitting' and 'the garden of five senses'... for some credibility she should have accessed the citation of those awards prior to her ‘statements’ ... i am unclear on the nature of land use violation which ms.verma perceives ... in any event, i do not know much about these projects of nctd... [24.08.2004]

To

The Secretary,
Ministry of Urban Development,
Govt. of India,
“C” Wing, Nirman Bhawan,
New Delhi – 110 049.

Sub : IBC Awards for Excellence in Built Environment – 2003.

Dear Sir,

  1. My attention was drawn by a few professionals to a web site called Architexturez.net under the captions "Honoured Architects (reason unknown)" and "Indian Builders Congress Award 2004". It refers to a news item on a web site called newkerala.com on which basis Ms. Geeta Dewan Verma has written to the Hon. President of India, the Secretary MOUD, the President COA (with copy to Secretary DUAC). She has also chosen to go public through her website. (Copies of above letters as accessed from her website enclosed for ready reference).
  2. Ms. Verma has rushed into ‘statements’ against three professionals and some institutions by piecing together a news item, her inferences from it and otherwise wrong or half-truth statements. I am therefore compelled to take time off my current schedules to respond to her ‘statements’.
    Statements by Ms. Geeta Dewan Vermaa) "The awards were by The Indian Builders Congress.b) "The Indian Builders Congress scrutinized all buildings constructed in the country last year - i.e. 2003, for their annual awards of excellence ; meant to 'encourage new talent ……….among architects”.c) "One of the awardees is E.F.N.Rebeiro for G.K. General Hospital in Bhuj"d) "One of the three excellences raises questions about professional ethics". "Dear Mr. Mehta,…Prof. Rebeiro is a planner, hardly 'eligible' for awards for 'new talent…..among architects'."e) "Dear Mr. Mehta…….. Prof. Rebeiro is ……Director of Association of Metropolitan Development Authorities, involved in Delhi Master Plan (DMP). If I was at AMDA, I would not do projects or accept awards from builders …….."f) "Dear Mr. Mehta……………..Even if you find trivial my plannerly concerns …..my question about this particular selection from nation-wide search for new talent and excellence in architecture survives".g) "Dear Mr. Mehta ………and you would agree……. This calls for investigation when the office of the President of India besides Urban Development Minister (having constitutional responsibility in the instant cases on account of AMDA and Delhi Master Plan) is dragged into it". Response by Prof. E.F.N. RibeiroThe awards were by the Indian Buildings Congress (IBC). I do not know if there is an - Indian Builders Congress. If there is one, their aims, objectives, mandate etc would surely be vastly different from that of the IBC and which is a body of eminent nationwide professionals. The Indian Buildings Congress (IBC) which instituted their awards for "Excellence in Built Environment” in 1996, invited entries for 2003 (8th in the annual series) from Owners, Architects, Designers, Builders and other Institutions/Individuals. A copy of their brochure is annexed. Nowhere have they mentioned 'to encourage new talent ……among architects'. Even newkerala.com in their news item quotes Eng. O.P.Goel, Chairman IBC as saying "The annual awards …..were instituted…..for outstanding work done in building construction."I understand there were about 40 entries under 6 categories for projects completed between June'98 to June'03 (a requirement for entry). It is logical to assume that only the entries submitted and screened for being judged were considered for awards and not all buildings constructed in 2003 i.e. about 40 applicants out of several thousands constructed during the year in India.Details can always be sought from the address of IBC mentioned in the annexed copy of brochure.One of the awardees is not E.F.N.Ribeiro but the firm of E.F.N.RIBEIRO Associates. The partners of the firm of Architects and Planners are Prof. E.F.N. Ribeiro - (Architect-cum-Planner), Shri Udaybhanu Pattaynayak (Architect) and Ms. Manjari Gupta (Architect). All the partners are registered with the Council of Architecture (COA). Prof. Ribeiro is both a qualified Architect and a qualified Planner. The firm of E.F.N. Ribeiro did not submit an entry for this award for 'new talent ……..among architects'. The firm followed all the prescribed stipulations for entry. The award citation stated"………for innovations in design, materials and technology in buildings and services"The firm were appointed architects for 'the Bhuj General Hospital by the Prime Ministers Relief Fund who were the clients.The building was inaugurated in January 2004 by the Hon. Shri A.B.Vajpayee, Prime Minister of India at that time. It is the only building in India at present to install base isolators (between foundations and superstructure) - as a safeguard against severe earthquakes - a patent by a New Zealand firmProf. Ribeiro is Director of the Association of Urban Management and Development Authorities and which has an acronym of AMDA. It is an Association of 53 major Development Authorities and Municipal Corporations and other local bodies in India. It is registered under the Societies Registration Act for exchange of good and bad practices through newsletters, conferences, seminars, research, publications, etc. AMDA has no role in the Delhi Master Plan, even if the DDA is an important member of AMDA.AMDA is neither a government nor a semi-government nor a government controlled body. It has its own registered operational mandate through a general Council/Executive Council. The DDA, MCD, NDMC qualify as members through prescribed fees. The constitution of AMDA does not provide for Central or State Governments to become members. Prof. E.F.N. Ribeiro's terms of appointment as Director AMDA permit him to be principal partner of the firm of E.F.N. Ribeiro Associates among other involvements.Prof. E.F.N. Ribeiro to date, has not been approached nor has he applied for any award from builders, individually, or through his firm, or through AMDA. The IBC award 2003 is a first time honour to the firm of E.F.N. Ribeiro Associates from the IBC.For reasons already explained this statement is of no relevance to the IBC Awards for excellence in built environment 2003. There was no nationwide search for new talent and excellence in architecture by the IBC for these awards.The Minister for Urban Development and his ministry have no Constitutional or any other role in AMDA. It is not clear what constitutional responsibility Ms. Gita Dewan Verma has attempted to foist on the Hon. Minister in these awards and ceremony. What does she want the COA to investigate and take disciplinary action on ?? Worse still, what are the irregularities that IBC and the awardees have dragged the Hon. President of India into ?? No section of the Architects' Act and no code of conduct regulated by the Council of Architecture has come into play, leave alone been violated by the Hon. Minister for Urban Development, the promoters, the participants, the awardees or any institution - government or otherwise in IBC, 2003.I only wish that Ms. Gita Dewan Verma had done some homework before taking upon herself to rush in with an apology to the Hon. President of India "for failure of the planning and architecture profession to prevent irregularities" on issues centering round this award. Surely, in defence of her very impressive credentials as projected in her letters to the Hon. President of India and others and the web she does have her own credibility to defend, as crusader for saner settlements and citizen concerns.
  3. Regarding, her views on the award for 'The Players building retrofitting' and 'The Garden of Five Senses', both in the NCT of Delhi, her ‘statements’ are not as personal as in the case of the award for 'The G.K.Bhuj General Hospital'. Nevertheless, even here for some credibility she should have accessed the citation of those awards prior to her ‘statements’ and the taking upon herself to apologize to the first citizen of India on behalf of the profession of planning and architecture.
  4. In my understanding, the plot known as ‘Players Building’ is within zone D-2 of the Master Plan. MPD 2000 has updated the land uses in this portion of the zone. Apart from this there have been other published legal updates. Is it that the offices of Delhi Adminstration does not fit into this framework ??. The Yamuna river and its flood plains between the eastern and western embankments is in zone ‘O’ of the Master Plan and which adjoins zone D-2 to its east. Perhaps in her expose, Ms.Verma implied an overlap in land use between the Player’s Building’ in Zone D-2 and an area she calls the river bed, whereas MPD 2000 demarcates zone O, undoubtedly to define the flood plains for concerted actions, among other reasons, to protect Zone D-2 and other adjoining zones.
  5. Also, in my understanding, the area known as ‘The Garden of Five Senses’ is within Zone J of MPD 2000. It seems to be part of a land use category called regional/district park in MPD 2000. Here too, I am unclear on the nature of land use violation which Ms.Verma perceives in this case. In any event, I do not know much about these projects of NCTD – their design, their approvals, their implementation.
  6. The awardees at the presentation ceremony apart from Architect Planner E.F.N. Ribeiro and Architect Udaybahnu Pattanayak for 'GK General Hospital Bhuj, were Engineer Jose Kurien of PWD-NCT of Delhi and Architect Pradeep Sachdev for 'Garden of Five Senses', Engineer K.Srinivasan of PWD, NCT of Delhi for 'Rehabilitation of Players' Building' ; Architect Anil Laul (also mentioned in Ms Verma's ‘apologia) and also a 'young professional below 35 years of age'. The ceremony was dove-tailed into IBC's 10th annual convention. The ceremony was widely reported as an IBC success and one is at a loss to understand Ms. Geeta Dewan Verma's unresearched and selective ‘statements’ through these awards followed by a ‘suo motto’ apology to the Hon. President of India on behalf of the profession of Planners and Architects.

Yours very truly,

Prof.E.F.N.Ribeiro
Encl :

  1. Copy of IBC Brochure inviting entries for Awards – annex A.
  2. Copy of www.newkerala.com - annex B.
  3. Copies of letters by Ms.Gita Dewan Verma and as exposed by her on
    www.architexturez.net to Hon. President of India, MoUD – annex C.

    Copy of letter with above-mentioned enclosures to :-

1. Hon. Sec., Indian Building Congress
2. Register, COA
3. Secretary D.U.A.C.