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Central Vista: new buildings on KG Marg, Africa Avenue proposed for relocating govt offices

A view of the Parliament House and Central Vista in New Delhi. File

A view of the Parliament House and Central Vista in New Delhi. File   | Photo Credit: V. Sudershan

Projects to construct ‘steel structures’ were considered by DUAC on April 23 and May 15, but not passed

The Union government is planning to relocate offices of various Ministries to new buildings proposed by the Central Public Works Department (CPWD) on Kasturba Gandhi Marg and Africa Avenue while the existing buildings along the Central Vista are set to be demolished as a part of the redevelopment project.

Also read: Central Vista project shows govt.’s warped priorities: Congress

The CPWD’s proposals to construct “steel structures” at Curzon Road barracks complex (near Asia House) on KG Marg and near Sarojini Nagar depot on Africa Avenue were considered by the Delhi Urban Art Commission (DUAC) during an online meeting held on May 15, the minutes of the meeting state. While they do not say what the ‘steel structures’ would be used for, sources privy to the approval process said the CPWD planned to relocate government offices from the existing buildings, like Shastri Bhawan, Krishi Bhawan etc, which are proposed to be demolished to make way for modern buildings.

The two projects had been considered by the DUAC in its April 23 meeting, the minutes state. However, both times the projects were not approved, with the commission citing various deficiencies in design as well as parking plans. The source said the projects’ application had been “fast-tracked” and that while the immediate plan was to relocate government offices, the buildings would not be temporary in nature.

Parliament project

Meanwhile, the minutes of the meeting on the DUAC website reflected a discussion on the CPWD’s project to construct a new Parliament building when accessed around 3.30 p.m. on Wednesday. After The Hindu reached out to DUAC officials seeking comment, the minutes of the meeting on the website were changed to remove the Parliament project by 4 p.m.

Also read: New Parliament project gets Central Vista panel nod

The minutes, viewed by The Hindu, noted that the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA) had advised that drawings of the Parliament project should not be shared online given security issues. Hence, while most meetings for approvals were taking place online, the Parliament project would be discussed in person in the DUAC secretariat. And to expedite the process, DUAC officials would do an initial scrutiny of the drawings before being placed before the commission, the minutes had stated.

A senior DUAC official said the Parliament project had not been brought before the commission. Commenting on the minutes that had been retracted, the official said: “If a matter is brought before any organisation, it is first scrutinised. But the commission hasn’t seen it yet.”

Also read: Central Vista project should be put on hold indefinitely: Jairam Ramesh

The official denied that any expediting of the approval process had taken place. Regarding the minutes being redacted, the official said that it may have been a mistake. Meanwhile, senior MoHUA officials denied any knowledge of the meeting. One official said the CPWD had not submitted the proposal to the DUAC.

Announced in October 2019, the Central Vista redevelopment project proposes to construct new office buildings along the stretch from Rashtrapati Bhavan till India Gate by 2024 as well as constructing a new Parliament building next to the existing heritage structure by August 2022.

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Printable version | Jul 16, 2020 4:02:07 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/central-vista-new-buildings-on-kg-marg-africa-avenue-proposed-for-relocating-govt-offices/article31702494.ece

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