Central Vista: Last-minute rush to get Rajpath ready for Republic Day

Public to get first look of revamped Central Vista on January 26, but not all facilities would be complete

From the construction workers rushing to the finish line to the Border Security Force personnel standing guard, Rajpath was abuzz with activity this week as the Government rushed to get it ready in time for the Republic Day Parade on January 26 when the public would get its first glimpse of the redesigned Central Vista.

Speaking to The Hindu about the design of the whole Central Vista project, which includes the new Parliament, Secretariat buildings and Prime Minister’s residence, HCP Design, Planning and Management managing director Bimal Patel, who is the Centre’s consultant for the project, said the goal was to create something that a large number of Indians connected with.

“The aesthetic preferences of Indians are very diverse. Some have very avant-garde tastes, while others have very traditional preferences. National icons have to resonate with this very wide diversity of tastes. Corbusier, when he designed Chandigarh, was not required to create an architecture that would resonate with a wide range of Indians – an architecture that they could relate with, find meaningful, and think of as their own. Lutyens was required to do so when he designed New Delhi. We are very much trying to create an architecture that speaks to a wide range of Indians and resonates with them,” he said.

The redevelopment of Central Vista Avenue, which started in February and is the first project under the larger Central Vista revamp nearing completion, was still a work in progress when The Hindu visited the site on December 21. Workers were busy giving the granite pathways along the lawns a flame finish, in order to make the stone less slippery. Cranes carrying materials moved up and down Rajpath, while bleachers ordered for the parade lay under covers on the lawns.

According to an official involved with the project, over 5,000 workers in two shifts were engaged to complete the project. Barricades separated the canals, parking lots and under-construction toilet blocks from the road and the lawns, which were the first priority for completion, the official said.

“The Central Vista Avenue will be ready for the Republic Day Parade. Some facilities are to be completed later,” HCP said in a written statement on December 22.

Toilet blocks, bridges over the canals and vending zones were among the facilities that would be opened after the Republic Day Parade, according to the official associated with the project.

On December 2, the Housing and Urban Affairs Ministry, which is the nodal Ministry for the entire revamp, informed Parliament that 60% of the work of the ₹608 crore-Central Vista Avenue project had been completed and “December 2021” was the deadline.

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