A presidential retreat on the lines of Shimla and Hyderabad may come up in the Northeast with Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal today urging the PMO to do the needful for setting up such a residence for the first citizen of the country in the region. The issue was discussed when Sonowal had a meeting with Nripendra Mishra, principal secretary to the Prime Minister, here. “Setting up of the President of India retreat centre in Assam was also discussed in the meeting,” a statement issued by the state government said. The chief minister said the retreat symbolises unity of the country, its diverse cultures and people. Sonowal had already discussed the issue with President Ram Nath Kovind when he called on him last fortnight. The chief minister earlier said a presidential retreat in the Northeast, besides the existing ones in the North and South, will symbolise the unity of the country apart from signifying the unity of the diverse cultures and people of the country. At present, there are two presidential retreats — the Retreat Building in Shimla, and Rashtrapati Nilayam in Hyderabad — where the president moves in, at least once a year, and is seen as an extension of Rashtrapati Bhavan.
The retreat building in Shimla is located on the hilltop of the Mashobra. The building was taken over during 1895 by the British Viceroy. A thousand feet higher than the Shimla ridge top, the retreat is located in a picturesque surrounding. The architectural pattern and the natural beauty of the place have made the retreat a tourist attraction in Shimla.
A key feature of this building is that it is purely a wooden structure with ‘Dajji Wall’ construction. The Rashtrapati Nilayam building in Hyderabad was taken over from the Nizam of Hyderabad after India attained independence and handed over to the President’s secretariat.
Constructed during 1860, this building has a total land area of 90 acres. A single storied building, it has in its premises 11 rooms. It also has a dining hall, cinema hall, Darbar hall, morning room, and dining room.