President Pranab Mukherjee today said he would demit office in a few days “satisfied” with the success of his five-year initiative to restore heritage buildings at the Rashtrapati Bhavan. Inaugurating restored heritage buildings at the President’s Estate, he said, “… I am going with full satisfaction that we have made our contribution to restore this building (President’s Body Guard) which is closely associated with contemporary history.” The President’s Bodyguard (PBG) is the oldest and finest regiment of the British-era which was constructed 250 years ago. While recalling the history of India under the British- era, Mukherjee said, “Participation of India in World War II was declared from here… transformation of India into republic was also witnessed from here.” “This is a smart city and it also has all the modern facilities,” he added. The president’s Secretary Omita Paul, who was also present at the function said, “We started the journey of restoration five years ago and have restored 55 buildings at the Rashtrapati Bhavan since then.” “The history must appreciate and learn which has been pride of Rashtrapati Bhavan… whatever has been done is to create a harmonious and happy family in the premises,” she said.
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The PBG, built in 1920, is an elite household cavalry regiment of the Indian Army. The primary role of it is to escort and protect the president. The exercise of restoring the building was started two years ago. The Rashtrapati Ashiana in Dehradun, built by the Britishers in 1920, will also be inaugurated later this month.