Central vista project is quite a fancy name, one has a lot to know about this project. At a time where big and powerful countries have their primary focus on economy restoration to at least reach the pre pandemic levels, it is seen that India is taking a bit of a different approach.
What is central vista: –
The Central vista is an area in New Delhi which basically comprises of Rajpath, India Gate, Rashtrapati Bhawan, South Block, North block and that famous circular building known as the parliament of India. Central vista is the center of Delhi and more so the power center of India. It is a 3.2 km long stretch from where the republic of India functions. All these buildings were built prior to the year 1931when Delhi became the capital of India. Lutyens and Baker were the people who designed the parliament, Edwin Lutyens was the man who designed Rashtrapati Bhawan and Herbert Baker planned secretariat[i]. Just some basic general knowledge which most of us already know.
Starting Point: –
The Union Ministry of housing and urban affairs proposed a Central Vista Redevelopment Project in 2019 and probably Indian leaders got way too excited and they ordered a whole new Parliament just the way people get excited and over shop on e-commerce web sites. Most highlighted and awaited part of this project is a new triangular parliament building next to the old one, similarly a new secretariat is proposed too, the 3km long Rajpath will be revamped and the north and south block will be turned into museums. All the new constructions proposed in the project are as follows PM Office and PM Residence with a new Parliament House, Central Secretariat, Central Conference Center and along with them many new museums like Museum on making of India, Museum on India at seventy-five, Museum showcasing Indian Democracy shall be constructed. Now there is a bit of concern amongst the people that the democracy might get confined within these museums. A project this big will have its consequences due to which Indira Gandhi national center for the Arts is being shifted elsewhere.
Plan and the central idea behind it: –
Initially this project was to be completed in November 2021 but due to the delays now the revised date of completion is announced in 2024 but the new parliament building will be constructed by march 2022 which will cost around 922 crores out of the total 20,000 crores allocated for the project. The government is reasoning this as urgent as they are paying around 1000 crore of rent for the buildings which the govt. has rented for official purpose, and this project will cut all this cost in future. This project is being planned to have many separate seven floor buildings which will have access to the underground metro with pedestrian survey. Yes, there will be construction of underground metro in addition to the buildings and other things.
This project raises some questions like was this really needed at this point of time when India is going through various economic hardships during the pandemic and also at a historic point when India has slipped into an economic recession after the continuous negative growth in the last two quarters. This should be read while keeping in mind that the Reserve Bank of India had already predicted that Indian Economy might see a recession in the future. So, the question is are Indian leaders really making right choices in terms of expenditure. ₹20,000 crores being spent at a time when officers are facing salary cuts; Dearness Allowances were not increased for the retired people and people are asked to donate to the PM-CARES fund because govt is lacking funds. So, is this judicial use of money should be the question of the hour right now. An amount this big being spent at this point of time, surely raises eyebrows. If this is compared with a situation in a common household, the situation is similar to that of a member of the household who is seriously ill. What would a rational person do will he take a loan and buy a new house or save money to treat the family member.
Anyways these are simple things which require logic and people are smart as well as prudent enough to judge that.
If not Central Vista, Then what?
A rough calculation yields that some 7.14 hundred thousand intensive care unit ventilators or 13.3 hundred thousand moveable ventilators of the most affordable kind may be bought with the ₹20,000 crores large integer put aside for the Central view revamp project[ii]. Is right message communicated with this project, should be the questions in media debates.
Environmental impact: –
The notification conjointly lays out however, a 9.5-acre recreational (district park) shall be mowed over to accommodate Parliament. Elsewhere within the space, this is to be remunerated by 3 parks of 1.88 acres each, but is this enough because this project will also significantly reduce the amount of area which civilians could access currently. India needs a new parliament building, but can’t all the other expenditures be suspended mentioned in this 20,000 crores project except for the Parliament till the time India recovers from the pandemic significantly in terms of economy and economic activities.
Intervention by Supreme Court: –
Recently after the permission of the honorable Supreme Court our honorable Prime Minister laid the foundation stone for the new Parliament building. This came in after the event where the central government issued a press release about their intentions to start the construction of the new parliament building and after this apex court slammed the government for going ahead with central vista project. It is astounding to see that the foundation stone has been laid down for the new Parliament building, when the Supreme Court is considering its validity and has stayed all the construction and tree cutting. Now this move again leads to a doubt that either government is very confident about the SC decision, or is ill-advised.
Sketchy tender allotment: –
The reconstruction contract has been given to HCP design. Yes, this that famous architectural firm which has already constructed the Sabarmati river front, Gujrat secretariat, Kashi Vishwanath corridor and surprisingly during the pre-bid meeting when all other architecture firms requested CPWD to hold an open design competition to choose the company then this company did not agree to this proposal and did not sign that open design competition letter. This again raises some questions.
The project is not wrong in-fact it is a very revolutionary project which will create a legacy but the problem is the timing at which it is being completed.
AUTHOR’S NAME: PRIYAM TIWARI
COLLEGE: SYMBIOSIS LAW SCHOOL NOIDA