Risk assessment of Shimla IIAS sought after landslide

Shimla: The landslide in the outer lawns of the Viceregal Lodge, presently housing the Indian Institute of Advanced Study (IIAS) here, has raised concern about the safety of the 149-year old historic building.

The landslide in the Summer Hill here on August 14, which seemingly started from the periphery of the extended lawns of IIAS, uprooted tall deodar trees and swallowed a Shiv temple, claiming 17 lives.

Cracks developed in some portion of the IIAS complex and preventative steps have been taken but there is no danger to the historic building, Deputy Commissioner, Shimla, Aditya Negi told PTI.

“There is a possibility of landslide at IIAS which may cause loss of lives and property and we have written to the State geologist to conduct an inspection of the IIAS and immediately submit a report in this regard,” he added.

Situated on Observatory hill, the Viceregal Lodge was constructed by flattening the hill and the debris was dumped on the slopes which settled over time.

The main building which was constructed in the early 1880s and was residence of Viceroy Lord Dufferin during 1884-1888, was on sound footing. The massive landslide was mainly the debris which had loosened and become ductile due to seepage.

After Independence, the lodge was named as “Rashtrapati Bhawan” because the President of India used to come and stay here during summer months.

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