Editorial

Building a new legacy

By Nagaland Post | Publish Date: 1/9/2021 12:06:24 PM IST

 It was another proof of the direction and determination that the Modi government was taking India towards the ‘New India’ by planning to entirely change the face of the Central Vista, spanning from the Rashtrapati Bhavan to India Gate, including the Parliament and various ministries, which is perhaps India’s most significant symbol of democracy. The Central Vista project involves the redevelopment of the area known as Central Vista Avenue, the area between the Rashtrapati Bhavan and the India Gate, where all the important buildings related to the union government are located. It is scheduled to be completed by August 2022 on the 75th Independence Day. This project has two main parts, a new parliament building, and a new secretariat complex to bring all the central govt ministries in one place. A third part involves the development of the Rajghat and the area around it, which is available for the general public, including the development of public amenities. This project will involve demolition of some non-heritage buildings in the area, and construction of new buildings in place of them. The Central Vista was designed by Edwin Lutyens and Herbert Baker, to house the capital of British India. The project is driven by a desire to overshadow the Nehru legacy through discrediting achievements in the past 60 years of post-independent India. Prime Minister Narendra Modi performed the Bhoomi puja on December 10,2020 despite a petition against the project. The Supreme Court however, allowed the puja but directed the government to not begin construction till it gives its assent. The crux of the petitioners’ case before the Court was that the process followed to commence the Central Vista redevelopment was so superficial that it falls short of the obligations imposed on the government to protect heritage buildings. The petition also argued that the notification violated the Master Plan of Delhi 2021, and that the Centre’s notification sought to override an earlier (December 2019) notice issued by the Delhi Development Authority inviting objections against the proposed changes in land use, which was itself under challenge in the top court at the time. As per media reports, the only material given to the Court to justify the construction of a new parliament were two letters by two speakers seeking more space - written in 2015 and 2019 - followed by an Office Memorandum of Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs directing the CPWD to float a request for proposal to redevelop the Central Vista. In addition, there appeared to have been no study conducted by heritage experts to determine whether the existing parliament structure could still be used for retrofitting, or whether the only alternative was to develop a new one on an adjoining land. It was further contended that the approval of change in land use and the environmental clearance was pushed through amidst the pandemic with insufficient public consultation. The Prime Minister Narendra-Modi led central government allocated Rs 20,000 crore to the project in March 2020 at a time when the nation was falling under the clutches of Covid-19 pandemic. The Opposition urged the government to scrap the project and divert the funds to efforts dealing with the coronavirus crisis. The Supreme Court on January 5,2021 however upheld as constitutional, by a majority of 2:1, the manner in which the Executive had undertaken the re-development of the multi-crore project. The government claims the Central Vista will take care of deficiencies of the existing Parliament building like inadequate space, structural weaknesses and security problems, and save the public exchequer crores paid as rent for offices. That may be sound logic, but building an edifice for a forum meant for informed discussion and debate while giving these concerns the go-by is a false start.

Launched on December 3,1990. Nagaland Post is the first and highest circulated newspaper of Nagaland state. Nagaland Post is also the first newspaper in Nagaland to be published in multi-colour.

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