‘It will compound traffic congestion in area, violate permitted land use’

The Delhi Urban Arts Commission (DUAC) has opposed the Indian Trade Promotion Organisation’s proposal to construct a convention centre at the existing Pragati Maidan complex. The proposed structure, with a seating capacity for nearly 5,000 people and spread over 10 lakh square feet, will not only compound congestion in that part of the city, the DUAC has cautioned, but will also be in violation of the permitted land use.

The DUAC has asked authorities to look elsewhere for land to construct the massive convention centre.

Asked for his comments, DUAC Chairperson Raj Rewal, the noted architect who has designed the main pavilion — the Hall of Nations — at the Pragati Maidan, said a meeting took place with representatives of the ITPO, and the Commission was categorical in its response. “The complex cannot be used to build a convention centre because the construction is too large. It will not be congruous with the other elements of the exhibition area and the vehicular traffic that it will add to the roads will further choke the main road that connects Delhi with New Delhi,” said Mr. Rewal.

The DUAC head also pointed out that land use of the area will have to be changed to allow the construction. A building that requires parking space for at least 4,000 vehicles will also put a strain on the water and sewage capacity of the Pragati Maidan complex.

“In1972 when the complex was designed by landscape architect Ram Sharma and me, the areas was listed as a ‘green area’ in the master plan. It was intended to be a landscaped exhibition area. Over the years a lot of that greenery has been compromised and constructions carried out. The complex has a lot of iconic buildings including the Craft’s Museum designed by Charles Correa and the Science Museum, and if any other construction has to come up within that complex, it has to be integrated with these, and that will not be possible if a convention centre on such a large scale comes up,” Mr. Rewal said.