Monday, 31 July 2017

Kerala house, Delhi once owned by the Cochin Princely stte!

Kerala House is the official state mission of Government of Kerala at New Delhi.  As far as Indian states are concerned,, each state  has to have a  statutory  representative  with an office, a sort of mission  house in the capital New Delhi. The purpose is to liaise with Central Government on behalf of state.

Kerala house, New Delhi. en.wikipedia.org/

The Kerala House in Delhi owned by the Kerala government has an official representative - Hon. Resident Commissioner of Kerala state administration. The representative will be invariably an IAS officer.  Located in the important part  of New Delhi on Jantar Mandir Road, it war earlier known as the Cochin House, which was the residence of the Maharaja of Cochin whenever he visited the capital city for sessions of the Chamber of Princes. 

'Vyukunt', as it was earlier known, it was built by  Khushwant Singh's grandfather Sujan Singh and his father Sobha Singh in 1911on a plot of roughly 11,000 sq. feet. The construction work began earnestly in 1903.  Sobha Singh was  a senior contractor and built many buildings, including the Rastrapati Bhavan. When Sobha Singh had severe financial problem, he sold the palace to Cochin Maharaja H.H Rama Varma who came to Delhi to attend the Chamber of Princes in year 1920

Seven years later some additions were made in 1927 - an annex was added by the Cochin government on side of the main Palace to accommodate an office facility and staff quarters. In 1940s, the annex became a war office of the  Government of British India. The USA from 1942-1945 used the building temporarely as its office of Political Representative  to British India (de facto American Embassy). In 1945, the government of India handed over the building back to Cochin Government.

It was only after independence, when Kochi joined the Indian Union, the house became the state property of Kerala Government and a permanent mission of the state to Central Government. The name changed to Kerla House. Kerala House also takes care of the near-by building called  Travancore House, the former residence of the Maharajah of Travancore, 

The Kerala House actually belongs to Kerala State Public Works Department and the administration is run by the  Controller of Kerala House, who  is answerable  to Hon. Resident Commissioner. The Office of Liaison Department has three departments, taking care of the center-state relationship. The Office of Protocol Department is an important one and  a chief protocol officer oversees all protocols formalities and procedures accorded to the visiting state ministers and other officials while they visit New Delhi.

The building has 66 well- maintained rooms and five elevators. The cost of construction then was around Rs 2.5 crore.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kerala_House