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PM’s office and house to be at walking distance

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IGNCA to be relocated as part of Central Vista revamp; competition to be held for deciding installation at ‘New India Gardens’ at Yamuna bank

A new residence and office for the Prime Minister, at walking distance from each other, 10 new office buildings that will be built in place of existing structures, including the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (IGNCA), and the ‘New India Gardens near the Yamuna’ are a part of the Narendra Modi government’s redevelopment plan for Rajpath.

The Centre’s ambitious plan to revamp the 3-km-long Central Vista from Rashtrapati Bhavan till India Gate is being designed by Ahmedabad-based firm HCP Design, Planning and Management.

In the current version of the plan, which is yet to be finalised, HCP’s director Bimal Patel said a 15-acre plot at Jamnagar House, where hutments stand today, had been identified to for the relocated IGNCA. Whether or not the national centre for arts that comes up at the site will bear the former Prime Minister’s name remains to be seen.

Triangular building

As a part of the plan, being executed through the Central Public Works Department (CPWD) of the Union Housing and Urban Affairs Ministry, a new Parliament building near the existing circular heritage structure has been proposed. Mr. Patel said the triangular building will have a Lok Sabha chamber big enough to accommodate 900 MPs usually, in view of any future increase in the number of seats, and up to about 1,300 for a joint session of Parliament. Two MPs would share one 1,300 mm bench, which would be enough to accommodate a third MP during a joint session, he said.

The triangular building would have a spire, though the material it would be made of was yet to be decided. Speaking of the original architects of New Delhi, Edwin Lutyens and Herbert Baker, Mr. Patel said the idea wasn’t to mimic the existing Parliament, but have the new and old buildings work together.

New PMO

The Prime Minister’s residence was proposed to be shifted to a plot south of South Block, while the new PMO (Prime Minister’s Office) would be opposite the DRDO (Defence Research and Development Organisation) Bhawan, giving the PM the option of walking to work and back, he said. The North and South Block, may be converted into museums of Indian history, while the Ministries located there currently would be shifted to the ten office buildings along Central Vista, according to the current plan. The Vice President’s residence would be shifted to a plot near North Block that currently has hutments.

The ten new buildings will be seven-storied, with stone on the outer façade, and glass and steel facing the inner courtyards. These would be connected to the Metro stations in the area through underground shuttles, he said. These buildings would bring all Central government Ministries in one area.

The original National Archives building would remain the same, but the additions to the plot over the years would be removed, he said. A central conference facility would be constructed next to the archives.

Commemoration

The Central Vista Avenue will be spruced up, with better landscaping and public facilities. Taking forward Lutyens’ idea of “ridge to river”, a “New India Gardens” would be created near the Yamuna. A design competition would be held for the installation to commemorate 75 years of India’s Independence at these gardens.

Lastly, a 48-acre space along the Mother Teresa Crescent would be used to house a biodiversity arboretum, where endangered plant species would be preserved in glass houses.

According to sources, this plan has been evolving since October, when HCP was awarded the contract by the CPWD. Housing and Urban Affairs Minister Hardeep S. Puri has said earlier that the tenders for the individual projects within the larger revamp would be floated by May. The deadlines for the new Parliament and common Central Secretariat are 2022 and 2024 respectively.

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Printable version | Jan 29, 2020 9:56:43 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/pms-office-and-house-to-be-at-walking-distance/article30576603.ece

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