Prime Minister Narendra Modi will today inaugurate a stretch of the redeveloped Central Vista from Rashtrapati Bhavan to India Gate, which has been renamed from Rajpath to Kartavya Path. He will also unveil a statue of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose.
This is the story in 10 important facts
The reason for the renaming of Rajpath is cited as Prime Minister Modi’s Independence Day commitment to “remove traces of colonial thinking”. While ‘raj’ means ‘power’ or ‘regime’, ‘kartavya’ means ‘duty’. According to the government, it symbolizes a shift from Rajpath as an icon of power to Kartavya Path as an example of public ownership and empowerment.
Rajpath witnessed the dawn of India’s independence and organizes the annual Republic Day celebrations. This ceremonial boulevard running from the Raisina Hill complex to the India Gate was first known as Kingsway, a central axis in the city of ‘New’ Delhi, built after the British Raj moved its capital here from Calcutta (now Kolkata) in 1911.
The entire stretch has been revamped as part of the Modi administration’s ambitious Central Vista redevelopment project. Not only has the area around India Gate been spruced up, but the atmosphere will also change – towards a more organized setup.
The government has allocated five special sales zones where 40 vendors each will be allowed, meaning the usual flow of ice cream vendors around the India Gate will now be replaced by a regulated system. It is one of the most popular places for locals and tourists alike.
Two retail blocks with eight units each have also been built near India Gate. Some states have expressed interest in setting up their food outlets, the government has said. This can mean options beyond street food from carts.
The Prime Minister’s Office said Rajpath and the adjacent areas of Central Vista have seen an increase in visitor traffic over the years, putting pressure on infrastructure. Facilities such as public toilets, drinking water, street furniture and parking have been improved.
To ensure there is no theft or damage to the new features – signage, lamps, fountains – a large police force and 80 security guards would be deployed in the coming days.
This is only part of the mega project. The redevelopment of Central Vista includes a new parliament building, a common central secretariat, a new home and office of the prime minister and a new enclave of the vice president, in addition to refurbishing the 3km Rajpath (now Kartavya trail).
A new centerpiece will be the large statue of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, which will be housed in the India Gate canopy. Made of a monolithic block of granite weighing 280 tons, the statue will be 28 feet tall. The Amar Jawan Jyoti – a tribute to fallen soldiers – was a key feature here before it was moved to the National War Memorial earlier this year.
On the statue, a team of sculptors spent 26,000 hours of “intense artistic endeavor”. A 100-foot truck with 140 wheels was specially designed to transport the giant stone 1,665 km from Khammam in Telangana to New Delhi, where the carving was done.