The three iconic buildings of Delhi – the National Museum, the Indira Gandhi National Arts Center (IGNCA), the Annex of the National Archives are expected to be demolished as part of the Central Vista project of the centre of Delhi.
Rs 20,000 crore which provides for a new parliament building and new residences for the prime minister and vice president.
The National Museum is home to thousands of rare idols, original sculptures, priceless coins, invaluable paintings and jewellery from different era of political and cultural history. These include the famous dancing girl of Harappa, Nataraja in Chola Bronze, relics of Buddha, Ganjifa cards, Tanjore paintings and wood carved doors. All these objects will be shifted to the North or South Block.
While the main building of the National Archives will remain intact, the annexe building will be demolished and a new building will be constructed. The archival records kept here include 45 lakh files, 25,000 rare manuscripts, more than 1 lakh maps and 1.3 lakh Mughal documents. The transferring of documents is fraught with the risk of loss or mishandling.
The Indira Gandhi National Centre for Arts has an extravagant collection of heritage pieces, manuscripts and an impressive library. All of this will be temporarily shifted to the Janpath hotel, which has been renovated for the purpose.
The other buildings marked for demolition are, Shastri Bhavan, Krishi Bhavan, Vigyan Bhavan, Vice President’s Residence, Jawahar Bhavan, Nirman Bhavan, Udyog Bhavan, Raksha Bhavan. The total area to be demolished is 4.58,820 square meters.
According to AG Krishna Menon, who is an architect, town planner and conservation consultant, “It is wrong from an urban planning point of view that the original intention of the capital is being changed. The government claims that it is still conserving the heritage. Again, that is wrong because it conserves some buildings and that too the skeletons of the buildings. So in other words what they do is that the heritage is preserved by retaining the building but deepening its meaning. “