The central government will have to amend the Master Plan of Delhi-2021 to make way for its plan to revamp the central vista or Rajpath if it proposes major changes in the redevelopment of Parliament House and other government buildings in the vicinity, said urban planners.
KT Ravindran, urban designer and former chairman of Delhi Urban Art Commission (DUAC), said, “To allow any development or redevelopment in the area, the master plan of Delhi and the zonal plan have to be amended. There is a reason why we have strict development control norms for Lutyens Bungalow Zones.”
The MPD-2021 describes the central vista as “one of the finest examples of urban design and monumentality in planning in the world”. Ravindran said, “The central vista is not just a piece of land; it is the image of the nation. It is important to respect the historic aspect. There are strict planning laws for the area. Any decision to make any change in the central vista and the area around it should be taken after serious consideration.”
The government has cited “shortage of working space, parking and amenities” as the reasons to push for redevelopment of the historic area spread over four square km between Rashtrapati Bhavan and India Gate.
Housing and urban affairs minister Hardeep Singh Puri on Friday said that the existing buildings are old and the space is insufficient. Speaking on the sidelines of an event organised by the Delhi Development Authority (DDA), Puri said that the government is paying ₹1,000 crore as rent annually to house its offices in various parts of the city.
The government aims to bring all its ministries and departments, which are spread over different locations in the city, at one location as the present set up leads to “inefficiencies and difficulty in coordination”.
But urban planners disagree with the government and say that it is against the basic planning concept of Delhi. “From traffic point of view, disbursal of offices, including government, is desirable to avoid traffic jam. The National Capital Region Planning Board (NCRPB) was set up to ensure decongestion of Delhi by creating employment opportunities by setting up industries and government offices in the satellite towns for balanced development of the region,” said AK Jain, former commissioner (planning), DDA.
Architect and urban designer Abhimanyu Dalal says that the requirement for space will increase with time and instead of redeveloping the existing buildings and the area, the government should set up new offices in the outskirts. “This will help meet the requirement for space and revitalize new areas and create employment opportunities. Reinventing urban areas after every few years is not a good idea, as there will be no continuity left,” said Dalal.
With the government likely to finalise the consultant for the project by next month, experts say that the government should have a clear strategic vision for the area. “It should look at the existing office complexes and identify those which can be shifted in the peripheral areas,” said Jain.
Sep 14, 2019 04:21 IST