The overhauled Rajpath and Central Vista lawns in the heart of New Delhi, which will be unveiled to for public view soon, will have a new name while new rules of public conduct will apply on the area of the capital. The road that stages march-pasts by defence forces and cultural tableaux every Republic Day has been renamed Kartavya Path (Path of Duty) in line with Prime Minister Narendra Modi's push to shed names and symbols reminiscent of the British era.
The stretch between the statue of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose and the Rashtrapati Bhavan will be known as Kartavya Path, a reminder of the prime minister's emphasis on duty in the run-up to 2047 when India will have been independent from colonial rulers for a century.
During his address from the ramparts of Red Fort this Independence Day, Prime Minister Modi had stressed the dumping of symbols reminiscent of a "colonial mindset". In keeping with the credit, the Indian Navy changed its ensign last week during the launch of the country's first homemade aircraft carrier INS Vikrant.
Previously, the name of the road on which the prime minister's house is located was changed from Race Course Road to Lok Kalyan Marg. The current regime has been, even before the latest address to the nation by Prime Minister Modi, known for changing a plethora of names ranging from renaming Aurangzeb Road in New Delhi to APJ Abdul Kalam Road to the Yogi Adityanath government in Uttar Pradesh returning Muslim-era Allahabad to its Hindu scriptural name Prayagraj.
Sources said that on 7 August, the NDMC has convened a special meeting for the renaming of Rajpath. This was meant to be a "message to the ruling class that the era of rulers and subjects is over", sources said.
The new-look Rajpath will be opened to the people next week after a 20-month gap. On 8 September, Prime Minister Modi will unveil the Netaji statue under the canopy in the India Gate circle that replaces King George's statue that the British had left behind.
Arguably the most popular public space in the capital of India, Edward Lutyen's Delhi has been redeveloped with red granite walkways spreading around 1.1 lakh sq m with greenery all around.
There are more than 133 light poles along the Rajpath, 4,087 trees, 114 modern signages and stepped gardens.
The Modi government ordered a revamping of the Central Vista Avenue with dedicated vending zones where not only the staple ice-cream, but food from 16 states will be available. There will also be new blocks for public amenities and parking zones for more than 1,000 cars.
This is the first phase that has been completed under the ambitious redevelopment plan of the Central Vista, which will be the nation's new-look power corridor.
The entire project envisages a new triangular parliament building, a common central secretariat, a new prime minister's residence and office, and a new vice-president's enclave.
New rules that will apply to Rajpath-turned-Kartavya Path
Ice cream carts will only be allowed in the vending zones. Although we have not taken any decision, we will ensure that these ice cream trolleys are not allowed along roads, says a PTI report, which says further that boating will be allowed in only two canals — one behind Krishi Bhawan and the other near Vanjiya Bhawan.
Vendors will not be permitted to sell their items on the lawns between C-Hexagon and Man Singh Road, says Hindustan Times.
On 8 September when Prime Minister Modi inaugurates the new-look Central Vista, people will not be permitted in the stretch between the India Gate to Man Singh Road, but the rest of the area will remain open.
From the next day onwards, the stretch will be open to visitors.
Two blocks on each side of India Gate will have eight shops each which will boast of street food from 16 states, selected by Delhi Tourism, says The Hindu.
The Central Public Works Department (CPWD), an executing agency of the project, has built six new parking spaces to accommodate 1,117 cars and 40 buses on either side of Rajpath.
“Parking will be free for the first 1-2 months. We have asked the New Delhi Municipal Council to manage the parking lots. Initially, parking space for 700 vehicles will be opened to the public due to ongoing construction work at common central secretariat buildings,” an official of the Union housing and urban affairs ministry official told Hindustan Times.
Two other facilities at C-hexagon have been constructed where 16 shops will be given to artisans or state emporiums to showcase their work.
Visitors will not be allowed to picnic on the lawns falling in the stretch from India Gate to Man Singh Road.
Security on the stretch
There will be a heavy deployment of police personnel and security guards to evade theft or vandalisation attempts, said a housing and urban affairs ministry official.
Moreover, 300 CCTV cameras have been placed at the avenue for 24×7 surveillance.
Expecting a large number of people to visit Rajpath, considered the most popular public space in Delhi, officials have accepted that maintaining cleanliness will be one of the challenges. “We appeal to people to maintain cleanliness. Large teams of sanitation workers will be deployed,” an official said
The Modi government’s ambitious Central Vista Project, costing Rs 13,450-crore, includes a new triangular parliament building built by a Tata group company, revamping the three-km Kartavya Path, a new residence and a new office for the prime minister, new ministry buildings and the conversion of North and South Blocks into museums and a new vice-president’s enclave.