A house for the Himachal chief secretary

Shimla : A 140 year tudor style heritage building in Shimla has been pulled down by the government so that a modern concrete structure can be built in its place to house the top babu of the state the chief secretary,sources say.

Many are wondering why one of the oldest government houses in the posh Brockhurst area of Shimla has been demolished.

Construction on siteÂ

Work is underway on a war footing to build an earmarked official residence of the chief secretary by the end of the year,sources say.

“The house was in perfect condition made of wood and stone like most British era houses, so we were surprised why it was razed to the ground one fine day only to build an ugly concrete building here,” said a concerned Shimla old timer.

Others are questioning the need to build a house earmarked for the chief secretary when the state coffers are empty, and the state government is barely able to pay the salaries of government employees.

Said one serving senior IAS officer not wishing to be named,
“Chief secretaries do not serve for a fixed term, many hold the post for a few months, some for a year or two, so where is the need to have an earmarked house.”

Others say the state government seems to have got its priorities wrong.When most government colonies are in disrepair due to lack of funds, so is there a need to spend so much money to build the house for the top civil servant of the state.

Heritage lovers are also angry by this move.When the 150 year old US club colony has been declared a heritage area and no such demolitions are allowed there, so why was one of the oldest and largest houses in Brockhurst razed to the ground.How could the government have carried out this step blindly,many are asking.

According to plan by December 31 this year a sprawling new concrete house will be built here. A lot of money of the tax payer is being spent, the government must explain why it is doing so !

In a 20 year career published widely. He has worked for the BBC, AFP, The Statesman, IANS and the Business Standard . Known for his hard hitting writing and occasional off-beat stories. He lives in Shimla.

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9 Comments

  1. says: Er. Vikram Jeet Singh

    Its really very wrong on part of the authorities. Instead of preserving the heritage sites, the government itself is engaged in demolishing such good old structures. Talks regarding another century old building are under consideration near the same vicinity to construct private flats in its place. The state government should take over the latter one and take steps to preserve its beauty, they may even turn it into a museum and earn from it too if the government so desires, rather than let it go in the hands of private buyers.

  2. says: Vishal Sadyal

    Who can challenge these Babus ..these people have the first right to exploit India……
    And they are the ones who are also blocking Lokpal Bill……..

  3. How can Jan Lokpal pass when babus and politicians are both working for each other? Each side keeps each other happy! Big mansions for babus means, live happily and have a nice end of the career treat….don’t worry about changing system or making tough laws …

  4. says: Vishal Sadyal

    Babus and politicians are like conjoined twins and both keep serving each other .This above line is by ex Lokayuta Sanotsh Hegde…………..
    Best part is these Babus they never retire even after retirement they are given posting in various government Organisations so that they don’t miss freebies as enjoyed before.
    The kind of money they make and enjoy is beyond the understanding of common man.

  5. says: PradeepR

    When the state has power to legislate and enact criminals laws of their own under the federal structure provided by the Constitution, why there is no law against pulling down buildings declared heritage?
    And if there is a law, nothing stops police to lodge an FIR on a complaint and even suo motu.
    .

  6. says: Gurvinder

    It is indeed very wrong to pull down a 140 years old heritage building in Shimla. The Chief Secretary will come and go, there is no need to build a concrete house earmarked for the Chief Secretary. How could the Goverment can do this with the Heritage building. Himachal is loosing its beauty due to unmindful construction. The people should come forward and do something, otherwise the Himalyan Queen will loose its relevance for beautiful structure of wood.

  7. says: Devinder K. Sharma

    It is important to have an earmarked official residence for the Chief Secretary. It used to be like that at A-4, Bemloe till one of the incumbents after having served as Chief Secretary decided not to move on and break the long tradition when he was appointed to another office- a sinecure placement. The trouble lies in the process of not honouring the long tradition. Be it the residence of a chief secretary or that of a prime minister. How often has the official residence of the Prime Minister been changed in New Delhi is common knowledge? Has a similar phenomenon been observed in UK where the 10, Downing Street continues to be the PM’s residence despite the PM’s coming and going. Whereas we try to ape the Britishers in several other ridiculous ways, we fail to copy them in honouring the long standing traditions. Now that a historical building has been pulled down in Shimla, one sincerely hopes that the new residence stays as the earmarked residence of the Chief Secretary and it does not become a victim of personal whims and fancies with any of the incumbents to occupy the chair of the head of bureaucracy in the State of Himachal Pradesh.

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