New Delhi: Three years after it was lambasted by a parliamentary panel for failing to maintain the National Museum of Natural History, the environment ministry is all set to construct a new, state-of-the-art facility in the capital.
The Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change has invited bids for the construction of a new museum building complex at Bhairon Marg, behind the Old Fort and opposite an international expo complex that will have modern facilities like an IMAX theatre as well as an open-air seating for 500.
Also to do its bit for conserving energy, the new building will have to achieve LEED India Platinum Rating as well as the GRIHA 5-star rating. Spread across 6.5 acres, the museum is expected to be built at a cost of Rs.250 crore within 43 months after the commencement of its construction.
LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) plaque is a US green building certification programme that recognises best-in-class building strategies and practices, while GRIHA (Green Rating for Integrated Habitat Assessment) is India's national rating system.
The Rs 209 crore Indira Paryavaran Bhawan that houses the office of environment ministry is India's first 'Net Zero Building' that produces its own energy and has achieved the LEED India Platinum Rating as well as the GRIHA 5 star rating.
"We have invited online bids-eligibility bid, technical bid and financial bid-from eligible consultants and architectural firms for the consultancy services (to build the museum)," a ministry official told IANS.
Noting that the required services have to be planned at minimum cost, maintenance and lowest consumption of energy and water, the official said that the complex will also house auditoriums, offices, underground parking, permanent and temporary galleries and eco-class rooms, among many other features.
Delhi got its first National Museum of Natural History on June 5, 1978, coinciding with the World Environment Day.
Situated at Tansen Marg in Lutyen's Delhi, the museum owes its genesis to then prime minister Indira Gandhi, who delared that the country needed such a museum to depict its flora, fauna and mineral wealth to promote environmental awareness among the masses.
However, the Lok Sabha's Public Accounts Committee, under the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party's chairmanship of Murli Manohar Joshi, had in a scathing report in 2012 pulled up the environment ministry over the "pathetic functioning" of the museum.
It had recommended that the government set up a permanent state-of-the-art museum which at present is operating out of a rented building owned by an industry lobby.
The committee had also sought the involvement of students in surveying fauna and flora in their vicinity and in afforestation, along with disseminating environmental awareness and heightening environmental concerns across the country.