×
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

Central Vista: A vanity project in the time of Covid-19

It shows an obsession with creating a grand structure, as rulers and emperors have done in the past to perpetuate their legacy
Last Updated : 25 May 2021, 02:03 IST
Last Updated : 25 May 2021, 02:03 IST

Follow Us :

Comments

Questions had been raised about the government’s Central Vista redevelopment plan even when it was first proposed. Work started on it after an unduly hurried procedure. It was criticised as a vanity project for which there was no need and rationale when the economy was declining and there were more important priorities. These questions are more relevant now when the country is in the grip of a pandemic and the economy is in a much worse condition. Last week, a number of former civil servants wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to avoid expenditure on non-essential items like the Central Vista project. Others also, including the media, have expressed concern over the project on various grounds.

The Delhi High Court has reserved its judgement on a petition that sought directions to the Centre to suspend work on the project as the gathering of hundreds of workers at the site would violate Covid protocol. The Supreme Court had once cleared the project but opposition to it has continued on many grounds. These grounds include damage to the environment, destruction of heritage, wrong prioritisation of tasks by the government, wastage and misuse of public money, arbitrariness and lack of transparency in processes and procedures, favouritism in the selection of the architect, etc. Even one of these reasons is enough for serious scrutiny of the project, but the government is unwilling to accept any criticism of it. It told the court, as it has made it clear in public many times, that it is determined to go ahead with the project and to complete it before the next Lok Sabha election in 2024.

Whatever the government’s explanations and defence, the Central Vista project would be considered a folly and a monument to vanity, especially as it is being pursued in these times of national misery. It shows an obsession with creating a grand structure, as rulers and emperors have done in the past to perpetuate their legacy. It is not a project undertaken openly and transparently, as it should be done in a democratic country. No consultations have been held with the public, the opposition parties and other stakeholders. Even photography at the construction site is banned. Why is there so much secrecy for a public work? The estimated cost of the project is Rs 20,000 crore. It could be much more by the time it is completed. This is a big amount for a country that is in dire straits economically and which has much more important tasks at hand. If the government persists with the work, it will be like fiddling when the country is burning with death and disease.`

ADVERTISEMENT
Published 24 May 2021, 20:43 IST

Follow us on :

Follow Us

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT