New Delhi's Central Vista redevelopment: witness the master-plan which will fully change the profile of India's central administrative hub...

1947 Independence Day
Image credit: MSN

Old images of the time of 1947 [days of independence] are just nostalgic. Images of the crowd gathering on the Rajpath to celebrate independence after a decades-long struggle against the British are just bone-chilling.

Rajpath, since it came into existence in 1931 along with a whole new city of New Delhi, is a road connecting two icons of independent India, Rashtrapati Bhawan, and India Gate, with some key administrative buildings like North Block, South Block, Parliament, etc on its banks. So in short, it functions as a spinal cord of that region.

And its beauty raises to an exceptional level on 26th January, when the republic day of India is celebrated with an iconic parade. Therefore, Rajpath and the area surrounding it is termed as the "central vista" which emits the aura of several qualities of our country.

So going back to the past in 1911, when the British Raj decided to shift their capital from Calcutta to Delhi they ordered to build a new capital region within Delhi. Two architects Sir Edwin Lutyens and Sir Herbert Baker were appointed and soon the process was initiated.

And in 1931 the new capital was ready and started functioning. Within a span of 21 years, a whole new planned city along with some of the iconic buildings like Rashtrapati Bhawan, Parliament, India Gate, North Block, South block, etc came up.

Young New Delhi
Image credit: Architexturez

And soon after they started functioning other additions were made on both sides of the Rajpath to house the offices of various ministries and other governmental activities.

Meanwhile, in the present days, those buildings are functioning their maximum and have also been affected by the drowning time.

Those buildings have been standing for several decades now and need to be modified or an alternative should be introduced to meet their needs efficiently with the changing time.

Just for example consider the Lok sabha, there is a considerable difference between the number of MPs sitting in initially and presently despite the number has not been increased since 1976!!! (although the population numbers are racing high) And unfortunately, there's no space to accommodate more number of MPs.

In fact, there were just a few ministries in earlier days which could get accommodated in the central secretariat but presently the number is too big that the offices of several ministries are spread all over in New Delhi and that too on rent. This is a major factor affecting the quality of governance.

Another concern to be made is about the safety of those buildings as well as of the people working within them. They are many decades old and need to be retrofitted for conservation. And for better administration and safety measures their alternative must be founded out.

So addressing these issues the Modi government has come up with a project to redevelop the central vista, which will totally change its profile and the project will be overseen by the ministry of housing and urban planning.

And the Government had set up a competition for architectural firms, to present their ideas. Among the six firms which participated namely HCP Design, Planning And Management Pvt. Ltd., CP Kukreja ArchitectsHafeez Contractor, Sikka Associates Architects, Arcop Consultants and INI Design Studio, the Ahmedabad based firm HCP design led by Ar. Bimal Patel won the competition.

The Master Plan
Image credit: maxresdefault

So in the nutshell, the idea involved the redevelopment of all the buildings falling on both the sides of the Rajpath which involves the Rail Bhawan, Vigyan Bhawan, Defence Bhawan, Central Secretariat, etc. The new Prime Minister's residence & office, Vice President's residence and candidly also the Parliament building is also able to find their room in the master plan.

Now let's talk about all the elements of the masterplan one by one:

The New Parliament Building:

Parliament Master plan
Image credit: The Quint

The new building is proposed on the adjacent side of the present circular building, on a triangular plot of 13 acres. Likely the triangular plot, the shape of the new building will be triangular. The building is targeted to be built completely by July 2022 before the 75th Independence Day celebrations. And as the divisions within are concerned, it will be divided into three divisions:

1) The Lok Sabha: the upcoming Lok sabha hall will surely be of much bigger in size and volume with a sitting capacity of 800 Lok Sabha MPs and 100 Rajya Sabha MPs (during joint sessions) which is comparatively more than the existing one which has the capacity of 543 members.

2) The Rajya Sabha: likely as the shape of the current hall it's speculated that the number of seats  (members) is to be increased from 245 to 400.

3) It will serve the purposes of the meeting hall, library, courtyard and foyers. It will be enclosed by a Hemispherical glass dome.

After all, the new Parliament building is going to cost the Indian Government a whopping amount of 776 crore rupees and for the site clearance, 196 trees will have to be grounded.

The North & South blocks:

North - South Block Museums
Image credit: The Print

The present epicentres of power of the Republic of India are expected to be turned into two museums post some retrofitting. The North block will house the stuff related to the Pre-Independence era and named as "Making of India" and the South Block will house the stuff related to the Post-Independence era which is likely to be named "India @ 75". Their conversion will now allow the general public to enter within those buildings and add life in them.

The Central Secretariat and All the Ministry Offices:

Administrative Area
Image credit: The Print

The existing buildings like Krishi Bhawan, Shastri Bhawan, National Archives, Udhyog Bhawan, Nirman Bhawan, Vigyan Bhawan, Vanijya Bhawan, National Museum, MEA and the Vice President's House will be demolished and new Doughnut shaped Buildings will take their place and will form the new central secretariat housing the offices of all the ministries within them and also serve the purposes of the demolished buildings.

The Vice President's Residence:

The present residence of Vice President which is located near the Vanijya Bhawan will be shifted in a plot allocated in the north-west region to the North Block. Present land will be utilised in the administrative buildings.

The Prime Minister's Office (PMO) & Prime Minister's Residence:

The existing seat of Prime Minister which is the PMO is housed in the South Block and the residence of Prime Minister which is presently located at the Lok Kalyan Marg will be relocated in between the South Block and the Rashtrapati Bhawan Campus.

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