Prime Minister Narendra Modi will Thursday inaugurate the newly-christened Kartavya Path — a stretch from Rashtrapati Bhavan to India Gate that will have red granite walkways with greenery all around, refurbished canals, state-wise food stalls, new amenity blocks and vending kiosks.
According to the government, it symbolises a shift from erstwhile Rajpath being an icon of power to Kartavya Path being an example of public ownership and empowerment.
Modi will also unveil a statue of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose at India Gate. These steps are in line with the prime minister’s second ‘Panch Pran’ for New India in Amrit Kaal: ‘remove any trace of colonial mindset’, it said.
The CPWD has set up five vending zones where 40 vendors each will be allowed and two blocks near the India Gate with eight shops each. Some states have shown their interest to set up their food stalls.
The entire stretch has been revamped under the Modi government’s ambitious Central Vista redevelopment project.
In a statement, the prime minister’s office said over the years, Rajpath and adjoining areas of the Central Vista Avenue had been witnessing pressure of increasing traffic of visitors, putting stress on its infrastructure.
It lacked basic amenities like public toilets, drinking water, street furniture and adequate parking space. Further, there was inadequate signage, poor maintenance of water features and haphazard parking.
Also, a need was felt to organise the Republic Day parade and other national events in a less disruptive manner with minimal restrictions on public movement.
”The redevelopment has been done bearing these concerns in mind while also ensuring the integrity and continuity of architectural character,” the statement said.
‘Kartavya Path’ will exhibit beautified landscapes, lawns with walkways, added green spaces, refurbished canals, new amenity blocks, improved signages and vending kiosks.
Further, new pedestrian underpasses, improved parking spaces, new exhibition panels and upgraded night lighting are some other features that will enhance the public experience.
An official in the Union Housing and Urban Affairs Ministry said there would be heavy deployment of police personnel and security guards to ensure that there is no theft and damage to newly-installed facilities. Around 80 security guards will keep an eye on the stretch.
The official said that 19 acres of total canal area have been revamped. They have been fitted with infrastructure such as aerators. There are 16 bridges on the entire stretch. Boating will be allowed in two canals — one near Krishi Bhawan and another around Vanijya Bhawan.
The official said maintaining cleanliness will be a challenge as people in a large number will throng the Rajpath, which is considered as the most popular public space in the city.
”We appealed to people to maintain cleanliness. Large teams of sanitation workers will be deployed,” the official said.
Along the Rajpath, the area spreading 3.90 lakh square metre has been developed with greenery all around. Also, the new red granite walkways spreading 15.5 km have been created, replacing bajri sand that lined the ground earlier.
Another official said that parking space for 1,125 vehicles have been created in the entire stretch. A parking space for 35 buses has been created near the India Gate.
Seventy-four historic light poles and all chain links have been restored. Over 900 new light poles have been installed. Concrete bollards have been replaced with over 1,000 white sandstone bollards to maintain the precinct’s character.
According to the ministry, over 400 benches, 150 dustbins and more than 650 new signages have been installed on the entire stretch.
One hundred and one acres of lawns have been replanted with different species of grass, appropriate to their location. Proper slopes and drain channels have been integrated to minimise damage caused by the stagnation of water.
Four new pedestrian underpasses have been built at busy junctions to segregate vehicular traffic from pedestrian movement, making the street safe to cross.
The ministry said the tall amenity blocks and underpasses have ramps with railings at suitable heights for safe use by children and the specially abled.
It said that arrangements for the Republic Day Parade have been standardised and integrated. ”Modular bleachers have been proposed for the Republic Day seating arrangements, saving time and effort in setting-up and dismantling, and reducing damage to the lawns,” it also said.
The light poles are fitted with necessary technology and services for the annual Republic Day Parade, connected to the newly laid underground service lines, it added.
The redevelopment project of the Central Vista — the nation’s power corridor — envisages a new triangular Parliament building, a common central secretariat, revamping the three-km Rajpath, a new prime minister’s residence and office, and a new vice-president’s enclave.