A new Parliament building with a triangular edifice with three spires, an underground shuttle service to connect all offices, a new home for the Prime Minister, an iconic installation to mark India at 75 — these are some of the features of the Central government’s ambitious redevelopment project of the Central Vista in New Delhi.
On September 13, the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA) announced the “PM’s dream project,” and architectural firms deposited bids.
In October, Gujarat-based HCP Design, Planning & Management Pvt Ltd, headed by Dr Bimal Patel, beat five bidders and bagged the project, which is expected to be completed by 2024.
As part of the redevelopment, a senior official told The Indian Express, North and South Blocks will be turned into museums. While details are being worked out, one idea, sources said, is to showcase the history of India before 1857 in one and from 1857 to now in the other.
A senior official said that no existing heritage structures will be demolished.
The PM’s new home will be next to Rashtrapati Bhawan and so will be the Vice-President’s residence, said the official.
The revamp project also envisages extending the Central Vista to the Yamuna river. The official said, “We will build an icon to mark India at 75 and there will be a design competition for that.”
The area the Rashtrapati Bhawan to the Ridge will be turned into a “national biodiversity arboretum and will be open to public.” The arboretum will showcase India’s biological diversity, an official said.
Important elements of the design include an extension to the National Archives, expanding public spaces and providing amenities for Delhi’s residents and tourists around India Gate, and reducing energy usage to enhance sustainability.
About the new Parliament that will be built, the official said, “It will be a triangular Parliament with state-of-the-art acoustics and three spires which will reflect the spirit of democracy. Each window in this new Parliament will be unique to reflect the diversity of India. The goal is to have the 75th anniversary session (2022) inside the new Parliament.”
The new Parliament, situated next to the current one, will have a Lok Sabha with a capacity of 900-1,000, a Rajya Sabha, and a common lounge in place of the current central Hall. It will also include offices for all the MPs.
Shastri Bhawan and Nirman Bhawan will give way to a set of at least 10 state-of-the-art office buildings. Said a senior official: “There is very poor use of precious land as of now and most office buildings are stressed, outdated and inadequate. The outer facade of all new buildings will be very similar in tone to that of Parliament and North and South Blocks but inside there will be steel and glass. Each office building with have eight storeys and will have an atrium and seating arrangement.”
On December 12, 1911, at the coronation of George V as Emperor of India, he announced the transfer of the seat of the government of India from “Calcutta to the ancient Capital of Delhi.”
Architects Edwin Lutyens and Herbert Baker embarked upon a 20-year-long project, and built Parliament House, Rashtrapati Bhawan, North and South Blocks, Rajpath, India Gate and the National Archives. New Delhi was finally unveiled in 1931.
“Demolition and construction will take place in a sequential manner to avoid disruption…Design is a dynamic, ongoing process and will be enriched with the help of all stakeholders. The Ministry will now hold town hall meetings with different stakeholders,” the official said. A meeting with the Council of Architecture is also planned.