New Delhi: The Narendra Modi government’s Central Vista redevelopment project has been on in full swing, despite criticism from several quarters about undertaking construction work in the middle of a severe second wave of the pandemic.
The Rs 20,000-crore project, which will completely overhaul the power corridor in Delhi, involves the construction of a new Parliament, new residences for the prime minister and vice-president and 10 new building blocks to accommodate government offices, as part of the Central Secretariat Project.
For this purpose, several historical buildings in the area will be torn down to make way for the offices. A total area of 4,58,820 square metres will be demolished for the project.
The new Parliament building, which is being constructed in the same premises as the old one, is expected to be ready by 2022.
Meanwhile, the first three buildings of the Central Secretariat Project are expected to be completed by 2023. These buildings will replace the India Gandhi National Centre for Arts (INGCA), a historic building of the national capital that houses several heritage pieces, manuscripts and also a massive library. It will now be shifted opposite Hyderabad House.
Also read: Doughnut-shaped buildings, underground shuttle — how new Central Secretariat will look like
Buildings to be razed for Central Vista
However, INGCA is not the only building to be demolished for the project. Eleven other buildings will be razed to make way for the Modi government’s ambitious redevelopment project.
This includes the Vice President’s house, which is near the National Museum at present, and will be shifted to north of the North Block. The Prime Minister’s Office and residence, conversely, will be built near the South Block. All the old structures will be dismantled.
The Jawaharlal Nehru Bhawan, which houses the Ministry of External Affairs currently, will make way for a seven-storey building. Furthermore, buildings such as Krishi Bhawan and Shastri Bhawan will be demolished and shifted to the new secretariat. A new conference hall, which is also part of the Central Vista project, will be constructed in place of the Vigyan Bhawan.
ThePrint takes a look at all the buildings that will be demolished for the Central Vista project:
Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts: The IGNCA was launched on 19 November 1985 by Rajiv Gandhi in memory of the late prime minister, and his mother, Indira Gandhi as a resource centre to study the arts. This included literature, visual arts, architecture, photography, music, dance and much more. The IGNCA is situated on Janpath, opposite the National Archives building. It comes under the Ministry of Culture.
Shastri Bhawan: Named after former prime minister Lal Bahadur Shastri, Shastri Bhawan houses several government ministries such as human resource development, chemicals and petrochemicals, law and justice, information and broadcasting, corporate affairs, women and child development and many others.
Krishi Bhawan: Situated on Rafi Ahmed Kidwai Marg in Rajpath, several government ministries operate out of the Krishi Bhawan. This includes the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Ministry of Rural Development, Ministry of Animal Husbandry and Ministry of Fisheries.
Vigyan Bhawan: The government’s primary convention centre, Vigyan Bhawan was built in 1956. It has hosted multiple national and international conferences, such as Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in 1983, the seventh Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) Summit in 1983 and the SAARC Summit. The annual National Film Awards also take place in the Vigyan Bhawan, which is maintained by the Central Public Works Department.
Vice President’s Residence: The Vice President’s Residence, home to current VP M. Venkaiah Naidu, is situated on 6, Maulana Azad Road. With a sprawling lawn in the front, the residence covers 6.48 acres and shares a boundary wall with Vigyan Bhawan.
National Museum: On 15 August 1949, the National Museum was inaugurated in Rashtrapati Bhawan by C. Rajagopalachari, the first Governor-General of India. It was later moved and the foundation stone of the present building on Janpath Road was laid by then prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru in May 1955. At present, the museum holds almost 2,00,000 objects that are diverse in nature — both Indian as well as foreign — including the famous dancing girl of Harappa, relics of Buddha, Tanjore paintings and many more.
The museum is home to historical artefacts dating back 5,000 years. It is currently under the administrative control of the culture ministry.
Jawaharlal Nehru Bhawan: The newest building among the lot, barely a decade old, the Jawaharlal Nehru Bhawan is where the Ministry of External Affairs is based out of. Built over 60,000 square meters and at a cost of Rs 220 crore, it was the first government building to get a ‘green building certification’.
Nirman Bhawan: Situated on the Rajpath Area of the Central Secretariat, Nirman Bhawan also houses government ministries such as housing and urban affairs, health and family welfare, and Department of Science and Technology.
Udyog Bhawan: Udyog Bhawan falls on the Yellow Line of the Delhi Metro and is adjacent to Janpath. It is where government ministries such as the Ministry of Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises, Ministry of Commerce and Industry and the MSME (Micro Small and Medium Enterprises) Ministry, operate out of.
Raksha Bhawan: Situated on Man Singh Marg, Raksha Bhawan is the official residential complex of the National Defence College.
Annexe building of National Archives: Although the main building of the National Archives will be intact, the annexe building will be demolished and a new building will be constructed. The archival records are kept in both the main building and the annexe. The nature of records are categorised as public records, private papers, departmental records, cartographic records etc. The archival records kept in the annexe include 45 lakh files, 25,000 rare manuscripts, more than 1 lakh maps and 1.3 lakh Mughal documents.
The records are kept in an ideal storage environment and round the clock operation of air-conditioning is provided to maintain the relative humidity and temperature that is suitable for the records.
Lok Kalyan Marg (7 Race Course Road): Lok Kalyan Marg or ‘7 RCR’, as it is commonly called, is the Prime Minister’s residence currently. Former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi made it his home in 1984 but it was only, 16 years later, in 1990 that the urban development ministry declared it as the permanent residence-cum-office of the Prime Minister of India.
Also read: Modi’s Central Vista project has a history-shaped hole in it