The Government of India is planning to redevelop Delhi’s Central Vista and build a new parliament. Central Vista is one of the most recognizable sites in India that comprises of a home of Government buildings. The grassy avenue extends from the India Gate and War Memorial and ends up to the Rashtrapati Bhavan of President’s Residence. The circular parliament house is built in between.
It was designed by the British architects Lutyens and Herbert Baker. When it was decided to move the British capital from Calcutta to Delhi, the two architects designed it and made it the most recognizable site. The geometric design with wide avenues and sprawling lawns was modeled on European Capital.
But the architecture of red stoned temples along with mutual forts imbued them to build it as an Indian heritage. Now, building a parliament is creating a lot of criticism. Anish Kapoor, who is an Indian born sculptor have exclaimed the rebuilding of the nation’s parliament as an act of ‘Political Fanaticism’ by the Prime Minister of India.
A THREE BILLION DEVELOPMENT PLAN:
It is a 3 billion development plan that will be continued for the next years. The plan majorly occupies making up of new triangular parliament building which erected next to the current heritage parliament house. The Parliament House was built in 1929.
It will repurpose the north and south blocks into a national museum, will put an end to some newer ministry buildings, and build a vast new secretarial along either side of the VA.
It will include all the government ministries that are scattered all over the national capital. As said by the government body, it will be the most significant transformation of physical structures of government in India since independence. Yet the opponents who are against this transformation are saying that there is no need for it at all.
EXPENSIVE VANITY PROJECT:
The Parliament made since independence is the imperial heart of India and the seat of power for an Indian republic. As said by Anish Kapoor, the “expensive vanity project” is “Modi’s way of placing himself at the center and cementing his legacy as the ruler-maker-builder of a new Hindu India. This project is carried down without public consent, architectural position, and parliamentary debate.”
The director of design at HCP, Bobby Desai says, ”From the day after independence, parliament was too small, because the existing building was the council house for the British Raj.” It was never designed to be a Parliament building of a nation whose population is around 1.4 billion. 550 representatives sit in the Parliament.
This arrangement is followed when the nation was about 580 million people and that simply means that a single elected official now looks after an average of 2.5 million people. This will be up for review after 2026 along with the estimation of raising the number of parliamentarians to 900. Therefore, more seats would be needed.
WHAT ARE THE VIEWS OF OPPONENTS:
The opponents who are against this plan have raised a question asking the reason of the Indian Parliament to not follow the examples of parliament building which is followed all over the world from the French Parliament to the Houses of Parliament in the UK and the Senate in the US.
Why there is a need to renovate the current structure which is less than 100 years old. Desai said that the current building cannot be expanded physically and has heritage status. So the new building is the only option. The new design will create 75 acres more or a public green space. So the part of presidential estate would be opened up for the first time showcasing India’s biodiversity.
Delhi is the most populated city in the world. So many questions have raised related to the usage of funds that why the funds are not used to clear the toxic air rather than making such a grand arrangement. Moreover, the coronavirus pandemic have put a massive impact on the financial conditions of the country.
So, some have raised there concern that it is better to spend millions over the current situation and healthcare of people rather than renovating a parliament building. However, the Supreme Court rejected the petition of this grand vista development due to this pandemic.
WHAT ABOUT CONSULTATION?
Anuj Srivastava, an architect, who has been a part of Lokpath opposed the development. He said, “ there has been no transparency, no consultation and they are pushing forward with it so fast just so they can do it before the next election. It’s clearly nothing but a vanity project for the Prime Minister to build Parliament in his own image, at an unaffordable cost.”
He further added to his statement, “ a heritage area under this is under strict architectural control but that seems to have been completely disregarded. The government is adding roughshod over all the committee and bodies which are supposedly meant to protect this area. “Historian Sohail Hashmi said that the government should talk about distributing powers instead of renovating the building.