New Delhi: The Prime Minister of India is set to get a new residence, while many government buildings, including Shastri Bhawan, Nirman Bhawan, Rail Bhawan and Vayu Bhawan, will be demolished, as the Modi government readies the blueprint for its ambitious project to redevelop New Delhi’s Central Vista.
The redevelopment will also include a triangular Parliament building next to the existing one, to be completed by 2022, in time for the 75th anniversary of Independence, sources familiar with the developments told ThePrint. The other projects are to be completed by 2024.
The new PM residence will move to the southern side of Rashtrapati Bhavan.
Rajiv Gandhi had made 7, Race Course Road (now Lok Kalyan Marg) his home as PM in 1984, but it was only in May 1990 that the urban development ministry declared the premises as the permanent residence-cum-office of the Prime Minister of India.
The new Parliament building will be triangular in shape, and is to be located opposite the existing one in the same premises. The old Parliament House, an iconic structure designed by renowned British architect Herbert Baker in 1931, will not be touched.
The new building will have a Lok Sabha with a capacity to seat 900-1,000 people, a Rajya Sabha and a common lounge in place of the current Parliament’s Central Hall.
Other heritage buildings such as the North and South Block will also not be touched. Both will be converted into museums — one showcasing India before 1857, and the other after 1857.
The Vice-President’s residence is set to move next to Rashtrapati Bhavan from the existing location, Maulana Azad Road.
Vigyan Bhavan is to be demolished and will make way for a modern conference hall.
The demolished buildings will give way to 10 new eight-storeyed government buildings along Rajpath, part of a common central secretariat will house approximately one lakh government employees. The current government buildings at the Central Vista house approximately 35,000 employees.
“The demolition will happen in a phased manner to avoid major disruption,” said a housing ministry official.
The outer facade of all the new buildings will remain more or less like the existing ones, in sync with the surrounding aesthetics. However, inside, the structures will be mostly steel and glass, and will be equipped with the latest gadgets and modern facilities. All the buildings will also have an atrium with trees planted in the middle.
All the eight blocks will be shorter in height than India Gate. The canal alongside Rajpath as well as the gardens will not be tinkered with.
“The idea is to move government offices that are located across the city to one place. This will not only save time in commuting from one office to another but also resources,” the official added.
The government currently shells out Rs 1,000 crore on rent every year.
All the new offices are to be connected by an underground metro rail. “There will be a shuttle service between all the offices. We are in talks with DMRC to work out the details,” said a second housing ministry official.
Also in the plans are a walkway and a cycling path connecting India Gate to the Yamuna. Shuttle buses will also be available on the route.
The housing ministry is also planning a National Biodiversity Arboretum on 75 acres of land behind Rashtrapati Bhavan, which will have collections of plants from different climatic zones of India.
“It will be a public space, open to all,” said the second official.
The ministry will now hold town hall meetings with different stakeholders before the project goes off the drawing board.
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