During these five years of the presidency of Pranab Mukherjee, several important initiatives were taken ranging from opening the doors of Rashtrapati Bhavan to the general public to undertaking the large-scale restoration of some of the heritage structures that were in dire need of conservation and preservation. Most significantly, during this period, for the first time, two elaborate studies on the existing structures, avenues, roads and plantations were undertaken. As many of them were planned and executed nearly a century ago, undertaking such an exercise was critical for the conservation of our national heritage. The study resulted in the formulation of the Comprehensive Conservation Management Plan (CCMP) Phase-I and Phase-II.
The buildings were assessed for their integrity and conformity to their original designs and the roads and avenues with their original layout. Perhaps the most important part of this eight-volume Plan is the set of recommendations on how to manage, preserve and maintain this living heritage. For the first time, future presidencies will have a document to refer to whenever human intervention is considered essential in the estate and the precautions and guidelines that would have to be adhered to when such steps become necessary. In brief, it would serve as a blueprint for future interventions.
This book is a brief narrative on select works undertaken during the Mukherjee years, primarily on the basis of the CCMP. These were executed by Dr. Thomas Mathew, Additional Secretary to the President, who was in charge of the implementation of the projects.
Without this documentation, the restoration projects, dealing with the grand architecture of Rashtrapati Bhavan and its estate would have been lost in time. This this document would serve as a useful reference for successive Presidencies.