Govt may turn North and South blocks into mu­se­ums

The Times of India (New Delhi edition) - - Times City -

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.

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