New Delhi: Expansive lawns, widened pedestrian sidewalk, refurbished walkways across lawns with low-level bridges over canals, improved public amenities and more — work is on at a hectic pace to complete the 3-km-long Central Vista Avenue between Rashtrapati Bhawan and India Gate in time for the Republic Day Parade next year.
On 26 January 2022, visitors coming to Rajpath to watch the programme will not only have better seating arrangements with better views but also access to improved civic amenities, including pedestrian-friendly underpasses to manage the footfall efficiently, defined parking spaces, signages, drinking water facility and toilets.
The Central Public Works Department (CPWD), the primary construction wing of the central government, that is working on the project plans to put up mechanised bleachers, with the capacity to seat 4,000 people, which are easy to install and dismantle.
“The refurbished Central Vista Avenue will ensure that arrangements for the Republic Day events are planned better and are less disruptive. They will cause less damage to the Central Avenue landscape annually,” said a senior official of the Union Housing and Urban Affairs Ministry.
The need to revamp the Avenue was necessitated because over the years the existing infrastructure had undergone massive wear and tear thanks to heavy use.
The Rs 477-crore Central Vista Avenue is part of the Central Vista Revamp Project aimed at giving Delhi’s power corridor a complete makeover. Coming up as part of the redevelopment project are a new triangular-shaped Parliament, a new PM’s residence, 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 central ministries such as education, health, housing, agriculture, commerce, air force, among others.
Housing ministry officials involved with the Central Vista Avenue project told ThePrint that despite heavy unexpected rains last month that slowed down work, they are confident that the project will be ready in time to host the Republic Day parade next year.
“Work was affected by the unexpected rains in September. But it’s picked pace again,” a second ministry official, who did not want to be named, said.
The new-look Central Vista Avenue
Once complete, the official added, the green cover on Rajpath is set to increase — the lawn area will increase from 3.5 lakh square metres to 3.9 lakh sq metres. Approximately 12 low-level bridges will come up over the water canals.
The Central Vista Avenue will also have dedicated vending spaces.
“The vendors are now located in a haphazard way, which inconveniences the public visiting the Rajpath area and causes traffic bottlenecks. Dedicated vending space will help in decongesting the area,” the second official said.
The official said that while refurbishing the existing infrastructure, care has been taken to ensure that the area and its surroundings retain their essential character. For instance, the original tree-lined landscape will not be changed in any way. Trees will continue to be there on both sides of the Rajpath and original species, including jamun and Maulsari among others, will continue to dot Rajpath.
A walkway and a cycling path linking India Gate to the Yamuna are also on the cards.
There will be a bus shuttle available on the route. The Housing ministry is also planning a National Biodiversity Arboretum in a 75-acre land behind the Rashtrapati Bhawan, which will have collections of plants from different climatic zones of India.
The Central Vista Redevelopment Project is being implemented in a phased manner by the CPWD. Gujarat-based architect Bimal Patel’s firm HCP Designs had won the bid in October 2019 to design the project.
(Edited by Poulomi Banerjee)