Architects question land use change in Central Vista revamp

Reduction in recreational, public spaces and lack of scientific study flagged

Updated - December 03, 2021 07:07 am IST

Published - January 02, 2020 06:55 pm IST - NEW DELHI

A view of the Parliament House and Central Vista. File

A view of the Parliament House and Central Vista. File

Several architects have raised concerns over the government’s proposed change of land-use of plots in the heart of Lutyens’ Delhi to make way for a new Parliament House, residences and office buildings, flagging the potential reduction in land for general public use as well as the lack of a scientific study to justify the amendment of the Master Plan for Delhi-2021 (MPD).

As a part of the Centre’s ambitious redevelopment of the three-kilometre-long Central Vista, Parliament and Central Secretariat, the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) on December 21, 2019 issued a notification inviting suggestions and objections to its proposed land-use change of several plots in the Master Plan. A 9.5-acre-plot opposite the existing Parliament House , currently earmarked for recreational use, was proposed to be changed to “Parliament House”, and a 15-acre plot near South Block to “residential”. Comments were invited for a period of 30 days.

Campaign started

Earlier this week, a group of architects and citizens’ collective, Let India Breathe, started a campaign to encourage people to send in their objections to the DDA, Let India Breathe founder Yash Marwah said on Thursday. As on Thursday evening, over 115 people, architects, planners, designers and citizens, had used the platform to send in the objections, which says “there is a loss of at least 80 acres of land currently earmarked...directly or indirectly for the general public through recreational, public, semi-public, parking, bus terminal land use...”.

Madhav Raman, one of the architects objecting to the land-use change, said the Central Public Works Department, which is carrying out the redevelopment project, was proposing drastic changes to the Central Vista, but had not made public a spatial audit justifying the same.

Not specified

Mr. Raman added that the DDA was proposing to amend the zonal development plan of the area without specifying how it would compensate for the loss of land for public use. Citing Clause 5 of Chapter 10 of the MPD, which says a special development plan for the conservation of heritage complexes has to be drafted by local bodies and land-owning agencies, Mr. Raman said that no such plan had been formulated for the Lutyens’ Bungalow Zone, so “how can you change the land use?”


Meanwhile, the Indian Institute of Architects (IIA) would also be sending in its comments to the DDA on the proposed change, IIA northern chapter chairperson Shamit Manchanda said.

“Master plans are made with a lot of inputs, so just changing it without conducting any scientific study is the basic issue. An environment impact assessment is also needed. What was the reason behind earmarking the area for recreational use, what is the reason to change it?” he asked.

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