Friday, June 14, 2024

BBR trains up Tripura personnel in retrofitting work


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Agartala: The Tripura government has mobilised Bangalore based heritage building retrofitting firm, BBR (India) Pvt Ltd to train up workers and construction engineers in retrofitting methodology and techniques, as the state would go for massive a retrofitting drive for a number of old buildings across the state.

Chief Engineer, Buildings and Construction Sunil Bhowmik today said, the BBR had already trained up more than 20 construction workers who were sent to other parts of the country for heritage building protection work while five young engineers were deputed with the BBR to learn the process.

The Tripura government had assigned retrofitting work of century old Ujjayanta palace to BBR in 2007, which would be completed by October next and it would be the first retrofitted heritage building in seismic-prone northeast.

The retrofitting work of the palace had earned several criticisms in regard to quality of the work as Tripura Royal family had accused the state government of non-compliance to Indian Conservation Act (ICA) in retrofitting.

Allegedly, while repairing the palace, the protective lime layer from several parts of the palace was scrapped off to carry on their seismic retrofitting, which had permanently damaged its luminous white hue.

A devastating earthquake had struck Agartala in 1897, had flattened the palace, built in 1838 and spread over sprawling half square kilometer but the then royal administration had also renovated it with the help of original builder, UK-based Martin and Burn Company.

However, the project got delayed owing to the non-availability of the original architectural designs of the old tombstone, officials said, adding the Union Tourism Ministry had sanctioned the renovation work in 2003 and appointed the Bangalore-based Indo-Swiss Construction Company for the task.

After the earthquake in Gujarat in January 2001, the state government had conducted an identification study of the edifices in earthquake-prone areas in the state and it opined besides, Ujjayanta Palace, historical Tripureshwari temple, Bhubaneswari temple, Neermahal, MBB College building and the Umakanta Academy building were also exposed to the risk of high-intensity earthquake.

With the geologist’s appraisal, the Tripura government had taken up the initiative of reconstructing all historical buildings and temples in 2003 as the experts had considered that there was high probability of earthquake in Tripura because the sedimentary rock underneath was under 1st order topography of marine origin.

Acting upon the advice of the world’s leading expert in Structural Engineering and Technology, Prof A S Arya, Head of the Department of Earthquake Engineering branch of Roorkee IIT, the state sought the help of Martine and Burn Company. Unfortunately, the original map and design of the building which they traced out from their archive, did not match with the existing building and suggested that either the construction deviated from the basic designing or may be the original map was lost or damaged.

Accordingly, the state sought the help of the Building Material Technology and Planning Council (BMTPC), which agreed to draw a fresh map of the existing building through observation and test of samples, which had ultimately solved the problem and retrofitting work had begun in 2007. Bhowmik said they had decided to renovate the Pushpavanta palace, which is currently being used as the Raj Bhawan, on a priority basis. The decision came as Governor D Y Patil was keen to quit this building vulnerable to earthquakes. (UNI)


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