Work starts on remodelling Central Vista landscape and facilities
08 February 2021
Work on the Rs5,000 crore Central Vista project started with the Bhoomi Poojan ceremony of the Central Vista Avenue performed by Hardeep S Puri, minister of state for housing and urban affairs, at India Gate on Thursday.
With this ceremony, the work has started for the development/ redevelopment of Central Vista Avenue starting from North and South Block to India Gate, that includes the Rajpath, its adjoining lawns and canals, rows of tree, Vijay Chowk and the India Gate plaza over a 3 km-long stretch.
This was originally designed to be a grand processional pathway to the Viceroy’s House during the British Raj. It was appropriated by the people of India and their government after Independence.
Some modifications were carried out in Central Vista Avenue after independence; the landscape was altered, new rows of trees were added in the 1980’s, a new road Rafi Ahmad Kidwai Marg was constructed to improve north-south connectivity. Annual Republic Day Celebrations (RDC) are held on this avenue every year. Other important functions like International Yoga Day, Indian Food festival, Paryatan Parv, Odia Parv and Prakram Parv are also held here annually.
It has very high footfalls. It is the most frequently visited place and important tourist attraction in Delhi. However, it lacks public amenities like toilets, pathways, designated vending zones, parking, proper lighting, signages etc. Its lawns and water canals are in depleted condition as they were not planned for heavy public use and have now become increasingly stressed. The Republic Day arrangements take long time and during that time most of the area become inaccessible to public.
The government has decided to address these by refurbishing and improving the avenue, as part of the comprehensive transformation of the Central Vista. The objective of the proposal is to make the Avenue an icon that truly befits New India. This will come out to be one of the best Central Vista Avenues in the world. It will be achieved by refurbishing, strengthening and restoring the avenue’s landscape and tree cover; providing amenities that make it comfortable for civic users and tourists to use and; making it more pedestrian friendly and easier for traffic to negotiate. The design also provides space and facilities for vendors, ensures that arrangements for national events cause minimal disruption, and ensures integrity and continuity of the Vista’s original layout, its geometries and its architectural character.
Government approved a proposal for development of Central Vista Avenue with estimated cost of Rs608 crore on 10 November 2020. Requisite permissions from Delhi Urban Arts Commission, Heritage Conservation Committee, Central Vista Committee, local body etc have been obtained.
Central Public Works Department (CPWD) has been entrusted with the task of carrying out this important work. Phase-I work of development has been awarded by CPWD to one of the major construction companies, Shapoorji Pallonji Company (Pvt) Limited with the cost of Rs477 crore through competitive bidding on 8 January 2021 and work started Thursday.
The components of development work under Phase-I include;
? Refurbishing of landscaping and lawns and extending green cover from 3,50,000 sq m to about 3,90,000 sq m as also providing proper irrigation system;
? Public amenities with toilets, drinking water facilities and vending area are being provided at 10 locations for visitors and tourists;
? Make it more pedestrian friendly with underpasses being provided at Janpath and C-hexagon crossing with Rajpath;
? Adequate walkways being provided along Rajpath canals. Walkways across lawns with low level bridges over canals are being provided to ensure better connectivity with parking, public amenities at 12 suitable locations;
? Canals are being refurbished with proper lining and aerators are being provided to keep the water clean;
? Sewerage treatment plant for recycling of waste water;
? Adequate parking space for cars, two wheelers, buses etc;
? Signages, lighting, CCTV cameras, drainage, rain water harvesting, water supply system; and
? Foldable seating arrangement to reduce time taken for installation and removal of temporary seating arrangement during Republic Day Celebrations.
Adequate measures will be taken up to mitigate environment pollution during the construction/retrofitting work with focus on water conservation and use.