Priyanka Vadra`s dream cottage to rise again

Under state land laws, only the state`s permanent residents can buy land in the state.

Charabra: Priyanka Vadra`s dream cottage in this picturesque Himachal Pradesh village will again rise from its debris. The two-storey five-room cottage, built for Rs 50 lakhs by Delhi architects over a period of three years, now stands razed to the ground.

It will now be re-constructed and redesigned by a Shimla-based renowned builder in hill architecture style - wooden frames and a sloping roof.

"The construction will begin sometime in September or October. I was assigned the job to demolish it and it has been done. Probably, the building has some problems in its architectural design," the builder said on Friday, requesting anonymity.

He said now a new building plan is being prepared. "Priyanka wants her cottage to gel with the surroundings," he added.

A visitor to the spot, just 15 km uphill from state capital Shimla, said the entire structure has been demolished but its foundations were intact.

State government officials said they were yet to get the revised building plan of Priyanka`s house.

A state Congress leader, who played an important role in helping the Gandhi scion in buying agricultural plot that is close to The Retreat, the summer holiday resort of President Pratibha Patil, said the previous builders used more cement in the building.

"Priyanka is keen to have wooden cottage only with slate-tiled roof. She wants multi-coloured slates procured from the hill state only. Moreover, the old one had less space in its backyard," the leader said.

In April, only the walls of Priyanka`s house were pulled down as she was unhappy with the size of the rooms.

That was the second dismantling work. In September last year, the cottage`s slate roof was broken owing to some fault in its design.

Priyanka, her children, and mother Sonia Gandhi frequently visited the cottage to inspect the construction work.

The Vadras purchased a three-and-a-half bigha (one bigha is 0.4 hectare) agricultural plot, located at a height of more than 8,000 feet amid thick verdant forests of pine and cedar, from US-based Satish Kumar Sood and Satinder Sood in 2007.

The then Congress government in the state had relaxed norms to enable them to buy the land.

Priyanka is one of the most high-profile people to build a house in Himachal Pradesh, years after former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee chose Kullu Valley for a cottage.

Under state land laws, only the state`s permanent residents can buy land in the state. Others who want to purchase land for non-agricultural purposes have to seek relaxations under Section 118 of the Land Reforms and Tenancy Act from the state.


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