Govt may turn North and South blocks into museums
Once the new secretariat becomes operational, the government can shift offices from South and North blocks and may even consider turning these buildings into museums, sources said.
The housing and urban affairs ministry, responsible for maintenance and development of the central vista and its surrounding areas,
The selected firm will prepare a plan that will entail concept, detailed design and strategies development/redevelopment works, refurbishment works, demolition of existing buildings as well as related infrastructure and site development.
The CPWD document says
that the “new iconic structures” built in the central vista “shall be a legacy for 150 to 200 years at the very least.
Sources said the firm will give options for new development only in the area that falls under the central vista zone, indicating the government’s focus on efficient use of the land parcels. The bid document for engaging a consultant also says many of the buildings in this area are over 40-50 years old and have either outlived, or are approaching, their structural lives. Moreover, certain plots in this area are in the form of hutments since Independence and are under-utilised. These hutments occupy an area of over 90 acres and house either defence establishments or government offices, the document said.
Theconsultantwouldsuggest whether these can be razed and huge chunks of land freed for constructing a mega Central Secretariat. The present secretariat is spread over 47 buildings and nearly 70,000 employees work there. Though the government had first mooted a plan to build a massive new secretariat spread over nearly 10 acres in the Lutyens’ Bungalow Zone in November 2014 ( TOI had first reported it), it later nixed the idea. The plan has been revived and expanded.
An official said the plan is justified considering that the government was spending about Rs 1,000 crore annually as rent for government offices in private properties.