The need for a mandate on Writers’ Buildings renovation was highlighted several times at a meeting between a two-member expert team and chief secretary Sanjay Mitra and other senior officials on Friday afternoon.
“We are working on the project (planning restoration and renovation of the secretariat) and the exercise is at a preliminary stage. We told the government that a clear mandate on what they want will help us draw up the renovation and restoration plan,” said Madhumita Roy, the head of the architecture department at Jadavpur University.
The other team member — Arup Sarkar, the head of the architecture department at Besu — echoed her opinion at the meeting, which was held at the conference room adjacent to the chief minister’s chamber.
The government wants experts from Besu and JU to draw up a blueprint on Writers’ renovation and restoration, which will be executed by the public works department.
The Telegraph had suggested that the government involve international experts with experience in renovating heritage structures in the Writers’ project.
At Friday’s meeting, the two-member team gave an audio-visual walk-through of Writers’ and a PowerPoint presentation. The experts also displayed a model of Writers’ as it is now.
Roy and Sarkar both refused to elaborate on their presentations.
Government sources said the professors, yet to roll out a complete plan on renovation and restoration, floated some ideas based on the government’s brief to “create a model secretariat” and sought the opinion of the officials.
The list of proposals included creating a place for exhibits reflecting the 236-year history of Writers’, introducing greenery in parts of the secretariat and making changes to let natural light enter the rooms of the chief minister and senior officials who sit in the main block.
“The windows have to be kept shut in all the rooms along the VIP corridor because of the unplanned construction at the rear of the main block. The experts have proposed that some of these structures be demolished and replaced with greenery,” said a source.
The officials present at the meeting, the source added, welcomed the preliminary plan the experts have prepared keeping in mind the fact that the façade of Writers’ — a heritage structure — cannot be changed.
“The experts want more inputs from us on the needs of the 11 departments that will function from Writers’ after the renovation. We will get back to them shortly…. We have also requested them to make a presentation before the chief minister soon,” said an official.
The final concept plan, the official added, can only be prepared after the chief minister approves the preliminary plan.
Create space for exhibits reflecting the 236-year history of Writers’
Introduce greenery in parts of the secretariat
Ensure natural light enters rooms of the chief minister and senior officials in the main block.