Shimla: The desire of Priyanka Vadra,
daughter of Congress President Sonia Gandhi, to have her
cottage here built in typical hill architecture remained
unfulfilled as its "slate roof" design had to be replaced by
corrugated iron sheet due to vagaries of weather.
With wooden frames and a sloping tiled roof, a typical
feature of hill architecture, the cottage was being built at
Chharabar at a height of more than 8,000 feet amid verdant
pine and cedar forests, close to Retreat, the summer holiday
resort of the President of India and landmark Wildflower Hall
Hotel of Oberoi Group.
"Priyanka was very particular about the slate-tiled roof
and even selected multi-coloured slate procured from the hill
state but due to some flaw in the design, the rain water
seeped into the cottage and the slate roof has been
dismantled. The cottage would now have sloping roof of
corrugated iron sheets with wooden ceiling", Neeraj Saini,
overseeing the construction work at the site, said.
Saini, associated with newly-appointed Delhi-based
architect firm Kohelika Kohli, said the under-construction
cottage also has some architectural design and column problems
also and added "we are redesigning these and the size of some
of the rooms would also be designed again".
Shimla District Congress Committee president, Kehar
Singh Khachi, who was instrumental in getting land for the
house and associated with the project from very beginning,
said continuous rains hampered the construction work and the
interior decoration and finishing had been delayed. The rains
also exposed some faults in designing and the same were being
corrected, he added.
The cottage, spread over about 3150 sq yards of
agricultural plot, was purchased for Rs 47 lakh from US-based
Satish Kumar Sood and Satinder Sood in 2007 in relaxation of
section 118 of HP Tenancy and Land reforms Act, which barred
any non-agriculturist, including bonafide Himachalis, from
purchasing land without special permission from the