New Delhi: Leafy, historic and lush, Lutyens’ Delhi has been home to an unchanging landscape that has become a metaphor for power for nearly a century.
All that could change forever. Central Delhi, with its majestic buildings—many of them built by the British architect Edwin Lutyens—appear headed for a makeover, with the central public works department (CPWD) on Thursday meeting design and planning firms with a mandate to redevelop the area.
It’s not as if the iconic Rashtrapati Bhavan, India Gate and Parliament House are about to be torn down. Still, the area could see a substantial makeover over the next five years, with the government inviting proposals to either redevelop or build a new Parliament building, construct a new common central secretariat for all ministries and redevelop the grand central vista running from Rashtrapati Bhavan to India Gate.
The CPWD held a pre-bid meeting for design and planning firms for consulting services for a comprehensive architectural and engineering planning of the project. The government had floated a request for proposal on 2 September and invited firms from across the world to participate. The bid will be finalized in the next month.
Last month, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the government is considering suggestions to build a new Parliament or to improve and modernize facilities at the existing complex.
“By 15 August 2022, when India celebrates its 75th Independence Day, it will have a new Parliament building. The monsoon session of Parliament in August 2022 will be held in a new or retrofitted building. The Central Vista will be redeveloped and the common central secretariat will be built by 2024," a person aware of the developments in the central ministry for housing and urban affairs said on condition of anonymity.
The central vista is the 4km stretch between Rashtrapati Bhavan and India Gate. Currently, various departments and ministries of the central government work out of 47 buildings spread across central Delhi, and many of them face shortage of amenities, parking and working space. The government believes a common secretariat will make government functioning more efficient.
“There is an imperative need to redesign and redevelop the existing Parliament building. The government has not yet decided whether a new Parliament building will be built or the existing one will be redeveloped at the same place," the person added.
Experts said any development in central Delhi should be done keeping the area in mind. “We need to retain our heritage, specially Parliament, which has a certain significance. However, a lot of these buildings need a proper uplift," said Vishwas Udgirkar, partner at Deloitte.
PTI contributed to this story.