After seepage,fungi attack,country’s largest dome to don ‘raincoat’

The country’s largest dome at Kanshi Ram Memorial is in distress. Exposure to rain and subsequent water seepage has led to discoloration and fungal growth on the majestic pink sandstone dome which towers above the skyline on VIP Road.

Written by Lalmani Verma | Lucknow | Published: July 19, 2010 4:12:01 am

The country’s largest dome at Kanshi Ram Memorial is in distress. Exposure to rain and subsequent water seepage has led to discoloration and fungal growth on the majestic pink sandstone dome which towers above the skyline on VIP Road.

In order to rid the dome of the ugly patches and make it water proof,work has begun to give it silicon treatment.

The work — to cost Rs 110 per square metre — will be executed by the UP Rajkiya Nirman Nigam (UPRNN). As many as 50 labourers have been engaged and iron scaffoldings have been erected to give them access to the dome. Similar protection would be given to other parts of memorial,which was built at a cost of Rs 370 crore last year,said officials.

Most sandstone structures in various memorials,including the Ambedkar memorial in Gomti Nagar,were given silicon treatment soon after the construction was over. But the Kanshi Ram Memorial had got left out,said officials.

The Managing Director of UPRNN,CP Singh,refused to discuss the matter. An official said the dome withstood extreme temperatures during winter and summer,but suffered discolouration and some dark partches “due to seepage of water during the rains last year”.

A city-based architect,who is also an expert in conservation of monuments,said sandstone is a porous material and if its cladding has not been done properly,seepage and fungus growth can occur.

“Silicon gel,on drying,turns hard and provides the stone protection from rain and moisture for at least five years. Since it is colourless and transparent,it does not interfere with the natural colour of the stone,” he said.

Another architect,however,said that the silicon coating turns yellow if the local temperature is very high. “In that case,the structure starts looking yellowish,” he said .

The dome of the Kanshi Ram Memorial has a diameter of 39.84 metre and a height of 54 metre. The main structure of dome is of steel and it is covered with pink sandstone.

Beneath the dome,in the central atrium,18-feet-high bronze statues of Mayawati and Kanshi Ram stand on a high pedestal. The memorial is spread over 60 acre area.

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