The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Design vs upkeep debate rages

July 30: An inadequate drainage system or poor maintenance ' what let the water into Bharat Bhavan'

Director Pawan Kumar Jain says the drainage pipes of one-foot diameter all around the building are inadequate for the rainwater that flooded the stores.

But architect Charles Correa, who designed the landmark building, said how a building “performs” depends on the quality of the maintenance.

“Bharat Bhavan was opened in 1982 ' that is almost 25 years ago. In all this time, no such ‘flooding’ has ever occurred, nor have any paintings been damaged. If the current monsoon is causing problems, then surely this is the responsibility of the present management, and its building maintenance ' or the lack of it,” according to the architect.

The possibility of inadequacies in the drainage system was not taken into account, said M.N. Buch, former secretary in the environment department.

In 1972, he recalled, he had prepared a note in detail and commissioned Correa to design the institute. “Somewhere down the line there was an oversight”, causing the flooding, he said.

In an email, Buch added: “About the drain, I said it might have been an oversight, not by you (Charles Correa) but by the agency which constructed the building.”

Correa, who the institute’s director said had failed to take into account the seepage from the Bhoj Lake the Bhavan overlooks, mailed back, saying: “As architect, I was responsible for the architectural designs and drawings for the building. All the other services were provided directly by the state public works department, which was also responsible for supervising the contractor’s work on site'.

“Because of the poor quality of the waterproofing work carried out on the terraces, there were some leakages. This was due to shoddy workmanship'.”

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