Three iconic Raisina Hills buildings may light up permanently every evening

One sight that never fails to dazzle city residents and tourists alike on every Republic Day and Independence Day is the lighting on the three iconic buildings on the Raisina Hills – Rashtrapati Bhawan, North Block and South Block.

A lit up Raisina Hills could soon become a permanent feature during evening hours.The government is working out the modalities to implement the plan.

Every evening, for three to four hours, the three buildings will be lit up with energy efficient LED lights, on the lines of similar practice at historic sites from across the world such as London’s Big Ben, Paris’ Eiffel Tower, London Bridge, Sydney Opera House, among others.

Currently, the area is lit up only on specific occasions such as Republic Day, Independence Day and Diwali.

The Central Public Works Department (CPWD), an agency under the Union urban development (UD) ministry, that is responsible for the upkeep of these iconic buildings, is working on the logistics of the proposal.

Sources in the Union urban development (UD) ministry said that a one-time capital expenditure to put up the LED lights, do the wiring, etc. will be a little over Rs 25 crore.

“Because energy efficient LED lights will be used, the energy cost will not be exorbitant. Only a minimum maintenance cost will be required. The lighting will make these buildings a must visit sight on a tourists itinerary,” said a ministry official.

For instance, on Republic Day this year, when the Raisina Hills was lit up for a week – from January 23 to January 29 — approximately 57,000 LED bulbs of three watt were put up. “The per hour energy consumption was 171 units costing Rs 1,368 (the per unit energy charges in the area which falls under NDMC is Rs 8),” said a CPWD official.

“Earlier, we used 25 watt LED lights, which used to cost more. But with advancement in technology, we now have three watt lights that have brought down the energy consumption cost substantially,” said a UD ministry official.

The Union ministry started working on the proposal following a recommendation from the Prime Minister’s Office during a presentation made by a Group of Secretaries last month. The panel of top bureaucrats was constituted last year by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to review government programmes and give budget ideas for 2017-18 on the health, sanitation and urban development sector.