Amid concerns raised by architects and activists over the government’s revamp plan for the Central Vista in the national capital, Union minister Hardeep Singh Puri on Friday said there has been “total transparency” in the project and the architect chosen for the job had consulted multiple town planners and experts for it.
He was responding to queries from reporters over two petitions filed by activists in the Delhi High Court and concerns raised by many other heritage and architecture experts on the proposed revamp.
“There has been total transparency in the project. Bimal Patel had held a meeting with editors and town planner earlier, and after that many others, and every other town planner in town. Then there was a meeting with journalists later,” the minister said.
Puri said one of the concerns raised by a few people is that heritage buildings are going to be torn down.
“We have shown exactly that every iconic heritage building will be exactly where it is,” the Union minister of Housing and Urban Affairs said.
Gujarat-based architecture firm HCP Designs had won the consultancy bid for the Centre’s ambitious project to redevelop the Central Vista.
HCP Design, Planning and Management Pvt Ltd, based in Ahmedabad, is led by architect Bimal Patel and has developed several projects, including the Sabarmati Riverfront Development where Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently held a mammoth event to celebrate Mahatma Gandhi’s 150th birth anniversary.
Asked about other concerns raised by activists that the revamp project will “take away a lot of public space”, Puri said, “public space will in fact increase”.
The Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (IGNCA) is likely to be shifted from its current location as part of the Modi government’s ambitious project to redevelop the Central Vista – the nation’s power corridor – in Lutyens’ Delhi, sources had earlier said.
Asked about the IGNCA, he said, “A grander mega cultural centre will be built as part of the new project”. It will be world-class infrastructure like Sydney Opera House and other such iconic buildings globally are, he said.
“So, for the Central Vista project, the amount of consultation we have done… Bimal Patel has met every conceivable town planner, architect. I have chaired meetings, the secretary has,” he said. So, that doesn’t mean “we are going to allow our project to be derailed,” he added.
The Union minister said, by 2030, 600 million people will be living in urban areas.
“You cannot rebuild spaces without complete adherence to ecological and sustainable norms,” he said when asked about the ecological impact of the project. The revamp also envisages a new triangular Parliament building, with seating capacity for 900 to 1,200 MPs, that is targeted to be constructed by August, 2022 when the country will be celebrating its 75th Independence Day. The common Central Secretariat is likely to be built by 2024.
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