THD NewsDesk, New Delhi:
With growing resentment for the Government amongst the citizens of India due to the inefficient healthcare system, the Prime Minister is building the new Parliament at the cost of Rs 2,000 crore.
While the National Capital of India is under lockdown, the construction work of Central Vista remains unaffected by the storm of coronavirus. The rebuilding of a 3.2 km stretch in Lutyens Delhi involves constructing a new Parliament building that will establish PM Modi’s legacy by tearing down several landmarks and building during the time of national emergency.
While the present 94-year old Parliament building will serve as a museum, media reports claim that a new prime minister’s residence is likely to be built and all of it will be readied by 2024, the year PM Modi faces the Lok Sabha election.
The decision of carrying out the construction despite many faces the heat of the pandemic with no oxygen and hospital beds has been receiving flak from the citizens. The construction work has been declared as essential services during the lockdown as the permission to engage 180 vehicles in the project during the lockdown has been granted by the Deputy Commissioner of Police for New Delhi District.
Historian Ramchandra Guha said that “the PM in his speeches since the pandemic broke, has repeatedly asked Indians to sacrifice – their time, job, lifestyle, their human and cultural tendencies to be gregarious. Now the citizens must ask the PM to sacrifice something for the nation as well. His project to redesign central vista was always controversial. It is now absolutely untenable. He should drop it. He still can and should.”
With more than 300,000 new infections daily, overworked medical staff and crematoriums, loss of jobs with the worst recession that hit India last year, and families putting out SOS call on the internet, the decision to bring cranes and construction equipment in the middle of the National Capital is a mockery and shows the priority of the Government.
“It is ill-thought-out, the necessity of the project has not been established, the environmental clearances have been problematic,” said Anuj Srivastava, a former architect in the Indian Army’s Corps of Engineer, who filed a petition in the court against the project last year. “Nobody builds a new parliament unless you can’t re-purpose the old one, like the way Westminster is being restored and refurbished.”
The decision has been criticized as an attempt to erase historical memories of Delhi, which has been conquered and rebuilt many times in history. It also points out the lack of public dialogue in the country, which gives the Government a free hand to establish a 2,000 crore building at the cost of the lives of its citizens.