The proposed redevelopment of Pragati Maidan by the India Trade Promotion Organization (ITPO) will not only give the buildings a facelift and re-imagine the Delhi skyline, but may also relieve traffic congestion in the area.
The chairman and managing director (CMD) of the ITPO, LC Goyal, announced his vision for an integrated exhibition cum convention centre (IECC) at Pragati Maidan on Thursday, which will feature a modern exhibition space spanning over an area of 1.2 lakh square metres, a multi-level basement parking to accommodate 7,000 vehicles, a convention centre with a seating capacity of 8000 people, and multiple interventions to ease the traffic flow in the area.
“Two traffic consultants have been appointed, one by the PWD, and one by the consulting architect, to device the best solution to the issue,” said Goyal.
The ITPO has suggested underpasses from Purana Quila Road and Ring Road, connecting the underground parking lot.
Goyal said the ITPO is holding talks with the ministry of urban development, who may use a part of the funds allocated for decongestion of Delhi, to build an underpass that cuts across the Pragati Maidan between Mathura Road and Bhairon Marg.
They are considering a grid separator at the intersection of Sher Shah Road and Mathura Road, to divide the traffic.
The project will feature a multi-level basement parking with a capacity of 7,000 vehicles. Earlier, during events like the India International Trade Fair, parking has always been a major concern. Many visitors exacerbate traffic jams in the area by parking their vehicles on the roadside, but the new parking arrangements will be a welcome alternative.
An expansive exhibition space and a convention centre have also been conceptualized. The centre would have a seating capacity of 8,000, in addition to 29 meeting rooms of varying sizes. “It will be primarily used for events like the G20 summit. The skyline of the building will be aesthetically pleasing. There will also be some ‘Indianness’ to the facade of the building,” explained Goyal.
“(To make space for the new buildings) we will demolish all existing halls and pavilions, except halls seven to 12,” said Goyal.
Many, including international experts, have raised concerns about the indiscriminate demolition of the structures, especially the Nehru Pavilion and the Hall of Nations built by Raj Rewal in 1972. These buildings have been lauded as ‘India’s first modern architecture’ by advocates and calls to reconsider the razing have been echoing across the globe.
Goyal, however, dismissed the concerns as isolated murmurs. “Issues are being raised by people who have vested interests. These buildings are not heritage buildings,” said Goyal.
The project, which is expected to be completed by 2019, will cost the ITPO around R 2,254 crore. “Our whole goal is to project India as a MICE (Meetings-Incentives-Conferences-Events) hub,” said Goyal.