Arts panel rejects plan to redevelop India Gate lawns
At a time when the construction of a five-foot high fence around the two lawns at India Gate is nearing completion, the Delhi Urban Art Commission (DUAC) has rejected a detailed proposal for redevelopment of the two lawns.
The proposal regarding the two lawns, owned by the central public works department (CPWD), was tabled before the DUAC meeting on November 8. The DUAC is the apex body for approving all new constructions in the city. It is also responsible for preserving, developing and maintaining the aesthetic quality of urban and environmental design in the national capital. Its directions are binding on all government agencies.
According to the minutes of DUAC meeting, the CPWD had proposed musical fountains in the ponds, additional pedestrian paths, a tourist plaza and the plantation of additional trees.
Rejecting the proposal, the DUAC said, “The proposal seems to have been over-designed by creating too many elements that do not seem to respect the spirit of the Central Vista Heritage Zone.”
The DUAC observed that musical fountains in the ponds were not acceptable. It directed the CPWD that it should avoid concrete surfaces on the lawns. “The additional pedestrian path proposed as entry plaza/seating deck is disturbing the integrity of existing design and therefore needs to be re-looked into…the tourist plaza proposed in lawns 5 and 6 needs reconsideration,” the DUAC observed.
With this, there is no clarity on the future course of action as both DUAC and CPWD officials refused comment on the matter.
The DUAC is silent on the issue of fencing around the lawns, an exercise that was frowned upon by urban planners. The project has been rejected at a time when the fencing work and the additional pedestrian paths along the periphery are nearing completion.
“The fencing work will be over in the next 10-15 days. The work on the footpath is on going,” a construction worker at the site said.
Hindustan Times had first reported (September 29, 2018) about the ongoing construction of a five-foot fence along the periphery of the twin lawns, which are not part of the central government’s war memorial project.
A senior CPWD official had told HT that this was being done “to ensure uniformity of design in the area”. Urban planners, designers and architects in the city had opposed the move as they felt that the fencing would ruin the heritage value of the area.
Meanwhile, a senior housing and urban affairs ministry official said that the project has now been transferred to the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC). But a senior NDMC official, aware of the development, said, “We have not got any written communication in this regard.”
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