Decoding the Central Vista Project

The INTACH defines the Central Vista as the “ensemble with main axis Rajpath radiating from the Rashtrapati Bhavan at Raisina Hill, flanked by the Secretariat building (North and South Blocks) and ends within the Princes’ Park. Vijay Chowk marks the start of the Rajpath and forms a cross-axis at the foot of Raisina Hill.

The road perpendicular to Rajpath now results in the Parliament House towards the north. Rajpath sweeps eastward to a hexagonal round-about that has the India Gate and therefore the Canopy”.

Introduction

This remarkable and historical precinct was built during British Raj, but nurtured, savored and celebrated largely within the post-Independence era. The Central Vista area has been accorded Grade 1 heritage status under the extant Unified Building Bye Laws for Delhi. Construction and redesign on the size planned within the redevelopment project will significantly affect the heritage aspect of this precinct and destroy it irrevocably. The Supreme Court, heard a challenge to the Central Vista project, said it might examine the validity of the June 17 environmental clearance given thereto. But already petitions before it on the legality of the change in land use by the end of June 29.

There is an excellent deal wrong with the conceptualization of the project. to start out with, the need of the project has not been established with sound prior studies on administrative, heritage, environmental and technical parameters. There was no parliamentary debate or discussion that preceded the choices taken. Moreover, the redevelopment plans were not substantiated by any meaningful public consultation or expert review rather a rushed and inappropriate tender through in record time to pick an architectural firm through an improper process.

The Ahmedabad -based HCP Design, Planning and Management Pvt Ltd won the project which is likely to cost around Rs 25,000 crore and will double by the time it’s completed in 2024 when India celebrates the 75th year of its Republic. The plan presented by this firm suggests demolition of several old buildings and rebuilding some new ones. Rashtrapati Bhawan and the central secretariate would not be demolished and the present Parliament would become the “Museum of Democracy” and therefore the new Parliament are going to be where the Annexe is. The fate of several heritage buildings abounding the Central Vista is not known.

The selected novice design firm from Gujarat appears to possess been given an authority to form whatever changes it wishes, with all government departments seemingly mandated to try to whatever is required to enable the firm’s actions. the choice of the firm and therefore the processes employed to try to so leave tons of questions unanswered. it’s also pertinent to notice that there has been no explicit exhibition of the scheme drawings, data or preceding studies for domain experts or common citizens to know what exactly is planned during this public space of great historic and heritage value. This goes against all democratic norms.

The plan envisages constructing the new Parliament building next to the prevailing one and an ultra-mega Common Central Secretariat involving revamping the 3-km-long. The Prime Minister’s Office are going to be at the top of South Block. It was the only firm that suggested a fresh and palatial residence for the prime minister as a part of the project because the PM’s residence was not even mentioned within the CPWD tender to redevelop the Central Vista.

Eminent professional bodies like the Council of Architecture, Indian Institute of Architects, INTACH, Institute of Urban Designers India and therefore the Indian Society of Landscape Architects have written numerous letters with sound and detailed advice on various aspects of the redesign decide to the minister of housing and concrete affairs.

The Union Housing and concrete Affairs Ministry had plans to float tenders for the project by February. consistent with the CPWD (Central Public Works Department), the whole project will cost around INR 12,879 crore. The new Parliament building will have targeted capaciousness of 1,000 to 1,200 people. the development of Central Secretariat is meant to be completed by 2024. The Gujarat-based architecture firm,  won the consultancy bid in October 2019 for architectural also as engineering planning of this ambitious project it’ll be preparing the plan of the Central Vista Project which can include designs, the value estimation, the landscape, the traffic integration plans, and every one the parking facilities among many other things.

Why Is It Needed?

The proponents of the project say that the new complex will stand out as an iconic and modern edifice of democracy that will be a triangular-shaped building, symbolizing the Trinity in Indian culture which will have two separate Houses for the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha with a provision for the utilization of the Lower House for joint sittings of Parliament. The capaciousness of the Lok Sabha is going to be up to 876 from 552 and therefore the Rajya Sabha from 250 to 400. For a joint session (in the Lok Sabha Chamber) up to 1,224 members might be accommodated. Ironically, the colossal Common Central Secretariat would be designed and built to enable the “people of India” to possess quick access to the corridors of power to urge their grievances redressed. One wonders what percentage of India’s 1.35 billion citizens, except the very privileged, ever attend the Central Secretariat to satisfy the mandarins and obtain their grievances redressed. The old parliament building is 93 years old and is on the need for reconstruction. The old parliament building needs retrofitting. CPWD has already stated that project will provide extra seating requirement and necessary infrastructure for the utilization of future generation of India. The project will increase the seats of Parliament from 545 seats to 900 seats. Currently, the govt is paying 1000 cr as rent for its offices of various ministries and department distributed outside of the Lutyens Zone which will be erased with the development of Central Secretariat bringing all the govt offices under one building. 8 storey building is going to be constructed. it will help in improving the bureaucracy at upper level. North Block, South Block and old parliament will become museum and can attract tourist and promote tourism. It is also kept in mind that none of the newly constructed buildings will surpass the height of the India Gate.

Conclusion

The Central Vista Project is an ambitious project with its time slated to 2025 at maximum. Least is known on how it will change the dynamics of the City and the nation with its completion. Questions arise if the funding is appropriate, especially at such times of a pandemic wreaking havoc in health and in the financial sector. Overall, it is hoped it will bring some much-needed construction jobs for people. Legally, it is being opposed by several fronts for it being too ambitious but if ignorance persists on the current state of the buildings, this project justifies the need for much simpler infrastructure in close vicinity. And further, the increase in capacity means more representatives can be elected from several less ignored areas of the nation.

FAQs

What Conclusion Did CPWD Gave Regarding The New Project?

Ans: The Union Housing and Urban Affairs Ministry had plans to float tenders for the project by February. According to the CPWD (Central Public Works Department), the entire project will cost around INR 12,879 crore.

Elucidate The Main Reasons Behind The Construction Of New Parliament Building.

Ans: The old parliament building is 93 years old and is on the requirement for reconstruction. The old parliament building needs retrofitting. CPWD has already stated that project will provide extra seating requirement and necessary infrastructure for the use of future generation of India. The project will strengthen the capacity of Parliament from 545 seats to 900 seats. Currently, the government is paying 1000cras rentfor its offices of different ministries and department distributed outside of the Lutyens Zone. The Construction of Central Secretariat will bring all the government offices under all building. 87 storey building will be constructed. It will help in improving the bureaucracy at upper level. North Block, South Block and old parliament will be turned into museum and will attract tourist and promote tourism.

Explain The New Master Plan Design Of HCP.

Ans. The master plan of HCP Design envisages constructing the new Parliament building next to the existing one and an ultra-mega Common Central Secretariat. It also involves revamping the 3-km-long Rajpath—from Vijay Chowk to India Gate. The Prime Minister’s Office will be at the end of South Block. HCP Design is the only firm that suggested a brand new and palatial residence for the prime minister as part of the project. This is strange because the PM’s residence was not even mentioned in the CPWD tender to redevelop the Central Vista.

Describe The Historical Heritage Of Indian Central Vista Area.

Ans: The Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) defines the Central Vista as the “ensemble with main axis Rajpath (originally called Kingsway) radiating from the Rashtrapati Bhavan at Raisina Hill, flanked by the Secretariat building (North and South Blocks) and ends in the Princes’ Park… Vijay Chowk marks the beginning of the Rajpath and forms a cross-axis at the foot of Raisina Hill. The road perpendicular to Rajpath at this point leads to the Parliament House towards the north. Rajpath sweeps eastward to a hexagonal round-about that has the India Gate and the Canopy….”

This remarkable and historical precinct was built during the British Raj, but nurtured, savored and celebrated largely in the post-Independence era. The Central Vista area has been accorded Grade 1 heritage status under the extant Unified Building Bye Laws for Delhi. Construction and redesign on the scale planned in the redevelopment project will significantly affect the heritage aspect of this precinct and destroy it irrevocably.

What Is The Expected Capacity And Budget Of The Overall Project?

Ans: The new Parliament building will have targeted seating capacity of 1,000 to 1,200 people. The construction of Central Secretariat is supposed to be completed by 2024.

The firm quoted Rs 229.75 crore for its consultancy services. It will be preparing the master plan of the Central Vista Project which will include designs, the cost estimation, the landscape, the traffic integration plans, and all the parking facilities among many other things.

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