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Tuesday, November 24, 2020

‘Taller than India Gate’: Entries open for new Central Vista structure on Yamuna bank

Under the Master Plan, the Central Vista axis — currently from Rashtrapati Bhavan, following Rajpath, up to India Gate — will be extended from the present 2.9 km to 6.3 km from ridge to river.

Written by Avishek G Dastidar | New Delhi | Updated: November 13, 2020 9:36:47 am
central vista, central vista redevelopment project, central vista redevelopment cost, india gate, central vista redevelopment tender, indian expressAn open competition will decide what it should look like.

For close to 90 years, India Gate has symbolised New Delhi. After 2022, the government wants a brand new iconic structure which could be much taller than India Gate — meant to “withstand the vagaries of nature and remain as such for millennia to represent the current age” — to come up in the Capital’s proposed new Central Vista that would be synonymous with the city and country. An open competition will decide what that structure should look like, and it will be designed by an Indian, the government announced Thursday. The prize money is Rs 5 lakh.

As part of the new heart of Lutyen’s Delhi, the Central Vista will extend to the western bank of Yamuna and will house the Nav Bharat Udyan, or the New India Garden. Under the Master Plan, the Central Vista axis — currently from Rashtrapati Bhavan, following Rajpath, up to India Gate — will be extended from the present 2.9 km to 6.3 km from ridge to river.

On the eastern side, it will culminate at the Yamuna’s western bank. The structure has to come up on this axis. “This will restore the original design envisioned for Central Vista,” a release from the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs said, which will be holding a webinar on November 17 to explain the salient features. The last date for submitting entries is December 11 and winners will be announced in the last week of the month by a jury of eminent persons. The structure is meant to be unveiled on August 15, 2022, the 75th year of Independence.

The government intends the structure to be “timeless” and requires such material and technology to be used that it “lasts for eras like Ashoka’s edicts, Iron Pillar in Qutub Minar complex etc,” the competition announcement from Central Public Works Department said.

The size can be three times the height of India Gate as the maximum height permissible there is 134 metres from ground level, the announcement said. Design should take into account factors like soil stability, wind velocity, seismic forces and vulnerability to flooding etc. as per National Building Code of India, 2016. Only indigenous material is to be used as part of Atmanirbhar Bharat.

However, constraints are that being on the banks of river, the foundation will be on sandy soil with high water table.

As for design elements, the structure should signify “New India”. “… clean and free from poverty, corruption, terrorism, communalism, casteism. It may further symbolise new developments like digital India, skilled India, fit India, etc coupled with energy, dynamism and transformational ethos,” CPWD said.

The competition will include architects, architectural firms, students, student groups, architectural or planning schools/colleges and other institutions across India, or any combination of the above. Five commendation prizes of Rs 1 lakh each will also be given.

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