CPWD came into existence in July 1854 when Lord Dalhousie set up a central agency for execution of public works and set up Ajmer Provincial Division. By the professional expertise in disciplines including Architecture, Engineering, Project Management coupled with comprehensive experience in building construction and maintenance CPWD has been working in the nation for last 162 years and has executed priority of works in difficult and demanding geographical and climatic conditions. It has now increased into a comprehensive construction management department, which gives services from project concept to completion, consultancy, and maintenance management.
It is led by DG who is also the Principal Technical Advisor to the Government of India. The regions and sub-regions are guided by Special DGs and Additional DGs respectively, while the zones in all state capitals (except a few) are headed by Chief Engineers. CPWD has PAN India existence and his the ability to undertake construction of complex projects even in difficult terrain and maintenance in post construction stage. CPWD had been grouped in the construction of stadiums and other infrastructure requirements for Asian Games 1982 and Commonwealth Games 2010. Enthusiasm and spirit of endeavor of CPWD officers have taken the organization beyond national boundaries. CPWD is presently now engaged in the construction of the Afghan Parliament Building.
Public Works Department was officially established in the year 1854 in the sixth year of Lord Dalhousie’s tenure as Governor-General. In the minutes of the meeting held on 12th July 1854 the Governor General resolve that a central agency is granted by establishing an office of Secretary to the Government of India in Department of Public Works. The note recorded by Lord Dalhousie was as under:
“The organization of the Department of Public Works in the Indian Empire will be incomplete unless it shall be provided for the Supreme Government itself come agency by which it may be enabled to exercise the universal control confided to it over public works in India with the best of scientific knowledge with authority and system. The Government of India shall no longer be dependent on expedients but should be provided with a permanent and highly qualified agency to assist in the direction of this important branch of public affairs. I have, therefore, now to propose that such an agency should be provided by creating an office of the Secretary to Government of India in the Department of Public Works. The person who holds it should always be a highly qualified officer of the Corps of Engineers. He should have the aid of an Assistant Secretary, also an officer of the Corps of Engineers. His salary I think should not be less than that of the Secretary to the Government of Bengal, namely Rs.3,000 per month and the salary of the Assistant should not be less than that of the Assistant Secretary in Military Department”
Colonel W.E.Baker of the Bengal Engineers was subsequently appointed the first Secretary to the Department of Public Works, this is the genesis of the Central Public Works Department.