New Central Vista Plantation Will Be "Close" to Lutyens' First Design

New Central Vista Plantation Will Be "Close" to Lutyens' First Design

While designing the new Central Vista, the main target of plantation are going to be to “keep it as on the brink of the first Lutyens’ Delhi” plan, designers and designers performing on the project said

Environmentalist and author Pradip Krishen, who is advising the designers within the Central Vista redevelopment project, said that the new plantation scheme has been designed to duplicate British design for the Capital in 1912. it'll also rectify the errors that the city’s horticulture departments have remodeled the years.

Krishen said that originally only 13 tree species were chosen to line the avenues of Lutyens’ Delhi; the amount was subsequently increased to 16.

“The criteria were that the form and therefore the size of the trees chosen for that specific avenue should be good so as to border the feature they were facing. Three things were kept in mind: that they had to be the proper size, that they had to be evergreen and that they shouldn't be common. That was the rationale why species that the Mughals preferred, like mango, or shisham didn't find space within the avenue scheme,” Krishen explained.

Lutyens’s plan accounted for around 450 trees altogether , of which a minimum of 385 were rai-jamun trees. Today, however, there are a minimum of 3,200 large trees (4,000 if the smaller ones and shrubs are included). Around 1,080 are rai-jamun trees, a spokesperson for HCP Design Planning and Management Private Limited (HCP), the firm responsible of the project design said. Of these, 21 are being transplanted to form space for amenities like toilets for the general public , the spokesperson added.

To be sure, trees of this size can’t usually be successfully replanted.

Historians said that Lutyens initially designed this a part of Delhi with all streets crossing at right angles. However, this was later tweaked, taking under consideration the dusty Delhi weather. Thus, the trees, hedges, even roundabouts were carefully designed as barriers to seasonal dust storms.

Krishen said that as an advisor to the Central Vista project, he has tried to retain the first patterns of Lutyens’s design the maximum amount as possible. He said that the new design may additionally rectify the plantation done by the Central structure Department and therefore the New Delhi Municipal Council over the years.

For instance, there was an ingenious grid plan for the plantation of jamun trees. the planning , which was called the “diamond grid”, only involved around 385 jamun trees, all planted during a diamond-like pattern.

“If you check out aerial images, the pattern is extremely interesting. It’s like small Xs drawn everywhere and at each end of the X a jamun tree was planted, and therefore the remainder of the space was left empty. But the CPWD in their course of plantation completely lost track of this pattern, mainly because they didn't understand the first design,” Krishen said.

The spaces left empty by the first gardeners to make that pattern, was filled in by planting new jamun trees.

But nobody wanted to travel back thereto plan entirely or immediately because “that would mean getting obviate an enormous number of jamun trees and no-one wanted that,” he added.

Krishen said that it had been finally decided to possess a “long-term replacement strategy”.

“We decided to adopt a scheme with a validity of a minimum of 30 years, which suggests that within the future when a tree dies, it'll not get replaced by a jamun tree in order that a khali (empty space) remains khali and a bhara (occupied space) remains bhara, or are going to be replaced by a tree of another species,” Krishen said.

Project documents shows that 26 old jamun trees are going to be affected during constructions. These nearly 100-year-old trees, planted around 1921, are to be transplanted and not felled, but experts fear that they could not survive the transplantation.

Based on documents and aerial photographs dating back to the 1920s,HCP was ready to recreate Lutyens’ tree plan along the avenue: a serrated grid of trees, comprising primarily of rai-jamun trees that flanked either side of the Central Vista Avenue and pines, maulsari and bistendu trees that were to cluster around what's now Vijay Chowk. The trees along the avenue criss-crossed over the waterways providing ample sitting space under the shade.

HCP’s proposal, supported advice from horticultural experts Kishen (based in Delhi) and Dr Prabhakar Rao (based in Bengaluru), aims to make a “tree plan” which will be realized over subsequent two to 3 decades as these trees reach their natural end.

“The draft plan for the plantation at Central Vista Avenue is probably going to be a more populated criss-cross grid, almost like Lutyens’ pattern, which aims to preserve as many of those trees as possible without having to transplant them,” the HCP spokesperson added.

“ Many of the jamun trees are already at the top of their life cycles and are likely to die over subsequent 20 years . So once they die, what should come up therein space? Should it's left alone? We’re trying to return up with a planting plan supported Lutyens’ cross pattern,” the spokesperson said


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