‘Sealing of ventilation shaft led to foul smell in House’

The foul smell in Parliament that forced Rajya Sabha adjournment on May 10 was due to the blocking of fresh air by sealing a ventilation shaft

Written by Express News Service | New Delhi | Published: July 13, 2012 3:08 am

The foul smell in Parliament that forced Rajya Sabha adjournment on May 10 was due to the blocking of fresh air by sealing a ventilation shaft. This has been revealed by the Central Public Works Department that has also suggested renovation work at the 85-year old building.

Citing examples of problems that need to be fixed,an official said that the CPWD had to put nets under the ceiling of Parliament to ensure that small tiles and other loose pieces do not fall down. The agency,however,added that there was no question of the safety of the structure.

“Every structure requires maintenance. Wherever problems are seen,we correct them. We want the building to be handed over to us for a year or two,so that we can see what repairs can be carried out,but that is not possible,” said CPWD Director General S K Mittal.

Mittal said he had not made any proposal for long duration repairs. “What I am saying is that everything requires regular maintenance,” he said,adding that at present,repair work in the building is being carried out in the period between two sessions.

The Parliament building was inaugurated on January 18,1927.

Mittal,when questioned about the reasons behind the May 10 incident,said,“With regards to the adjournment in the Rajya Sabha,we found that a ventilation shaft had been sealed by security persons,blocking the supply of fresh air which caused the foul smell.” The windows had been blocked due to installation of air-conditioning. “The ventilation points have been opened up again. The CPWD has recommended that security personnel should guard ventilation points and these should be left open for the entry of fresh air,” he added.

Mittal said Parliament security officials did not want to leave any open point due to threats as per their assessment,but the CPWD officials felt the flow of natural air was important too. “This building was constructed a long time ago with provisions for fresh air flow. Now,all ventilation shafts and other such points have been closed and air conditioners have been installed,” he added.

CPWD officials said Vigyan Bhavan also required renovation and they have written to the Urban Development Ministry about it. “There are several government buildings which have inflammable things along their staircases. We have served several of them notices,’’ said an official.

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