New Delhi: The Central Vista revamp plan — one of the most ambitious projects of the Narendra Modi government to give Delhi’s power corridor a complete makeover — is estimated to cost around Rs 20,000 crore, ThePrint has learnt.
The makeover will include construction of a new triangular-shaped Parliament, new residences for the prime minister and vice-president and 10 new building blocks to accommodate government offices, including Shastri Bhavan, Nirman Bhavan, Udyog Bhavan, Krishi Bhavan and Vayu Bhavan.
These buildings currently house the offices of different central ministries like education, health, housing, agriculture, commerce, air force, among others.
A source in the government told ThePrint since the project involves the construction of government offices, the estimated cost of approximately Rs 20,000 crore will have to be met through budgetary allocation only.
Despite the announcement of the project last year, funds were not allocated in the 2020-21 Budget.
The source said the Union Housing and Urban Affairs Ministry, which is piloting the project, is brainstorming over how to meet the requirement of funds.
“Some allocations could be made in the supplementary budget, considering that construction on the project will start by August,” the source added.
A second source in the government said that one of the ideas being discussed is to ask the different ministries to foot the construction cost of their respective office buildings from their own budget heads.
“Ministries/departments in the government have separate budget heads for renovation of an office building. They can seek the budget for the project under this head,” the source said.
A section in the government is, however, of the view that this could become a very cumbersome and time-consuming process, and instead the finance ministry should sanction the total cost in a phase-wise manner.
“The finance ministry is aware of the developments and a final call on the matter will be taken soon. The project has very strict timelines. The targeted completion date for the new Parliament House is 2022. For the other government buildings, it is 2024. Delay in sanction of funds could impact the timelines,” a third source said.
The housing ministry is currently preparing a note to seek cabinet approval for the project.
Work on new Parliament to begin by August
Government sources said the housing ministry has already started the basic groundwork for the project.
“The ministry has started applying for various clearances, including environment, fire safety etc,” said the second source.
The project will be implemented in a phase-wise manner by the Central Public Works Department, which is the construction wing of the housing ministry.
Gujarat-based architect Bimal Patel’s firm HCP Designs had won the bid last October to design the project.
To start with, the construction will begin on vacant lands that are available or where minimum disruption is required.
For instance, the new triangular-shaped Parliament building will come up on vacant land opposite the existing one.
The present Parliament building, which is an iconic heritage structure designed by noted British architect Herbert Baker in 1931, will not be touched.
Two other heritage buildings — North and South Block that house the offices of the PM, external affairs, defence, home and finance ministries — will also not be demolished.
While the offices will shift to a new location, the existing buildings will be converted into two museums — one showcasing India before 1857 and the other after 1857.
The new residence for the PM will come up on the southern side of Rashtrapati Bhavan.
Four govt offices to come up on IGNCA premises
Among the government buildings, the first to be shifted will be Shastri Bhavan, Nirman Bhavan, Krishi Bhavan and Udyog Bhavan.
These four buildings, the first source said, will come up on the 2-acre land on Man Singh Road where, at present, the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (IGNCA) is located.
“It’s a huge chunk of land, which is mostly vacant now. Constructing the four office blocks will take far less time. Once the building is ready, the old ones will be demolished to make way for other buildings,” said the source quoted.
The IGNCA, set up in the memory of former PM Indira Gandhi, will be temporarily shifted to Janpath Hotel. The property is lying unused now after the government decided to exit from the ITDC-run hotel business.
The IGNCA will finally be moved to Jamnagar House once its construction is completed.
The height of all the proposed new government blocks will be shorter than India Gate. All of them will be connected by an underground metro rail.