Urban development experts say redevelopment is the way forward but add that government should have a strategic vision for the area, which has a lot of historical significance, so new and old constructions blend smoothly.
Urban designers say the government should have consulted the public before taking a decision. Arunava Dasgupta from the School of Planning and Architecture said, “For any project of this scale, magnitude and significance in a location as critical as this area... the heart of our national capital, there needs to be a widespread consultation before any decision to change is taken.” He added, “It is most important to formulate a comprehensive urban design, landscape and conservation strategy for this precinct and all other areas of historical significance within which such projects can be considered or imagined.”
The central vista, consisting of some of the most iconic buildings of Delhi, came into being when the British capital was shifted to Delhi from Calcutta in 1911. Architects Edward Lutyens and Herbert Baker designed large sections of the area that houses central government offices.
“This area is the identity of the capital. It is the image on your mind when you think of New Delhi. If the government wants to interfere with this profile, they need to have a very good reason. They also need to involve heritage architects in planning it,” said Sohail Hashmi, a heritage enthusiast.
Others said that there was no cause for alarm if existing rules were followed. “We need to first see what changes will be planned and if there is something that will disturb the current look, then there will be objections from the Delhi Urban Art Commission,” an official from Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) said.