Don’t waste money on redeveloping Central Delhi, divert funds to fighting COVID-19

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हिंदी में साइन करने के लिए यहाँ क्लिक करें

Honourable Prime Minister Modi,

The Government of India has proposed the redevelopment of the Central Vista Precinct in New Delhi, has awarded the design work to a specific architectural firm, and is proceeding with the project as reflected in the Gazette notification of 20-03-2020 on change of land use entailed by the project. Details of the project and its cost are yet to be placed in the public domain and subjected to public consultation, but media reports of the project cost have mentioned numbers ranging from Rs. 12,000 crores to Rs. 25,000 crores. Whatever the case, the cost of the project is substantial, and given the announced intention of completing this large scale project within four years, substantive expenditure is imminent in the coming financial year.

While many concerns have been articulated by citizens on the loss of public space, loss of heritage, and architecture inappropriate to a constitutional democracy, these are all discussions for another day given that our beloved country, along with the rest of the world, faces one of the gravest crises in her history: the Corona Virus pandemic. We trust you appreciate that expenditure on Central Vista Redevelopment unquestionably falls far behind in priority to the measures we must take to face this pandemic.

We, therefore, urge you to immediately and publicly declare that progress on Central Vista Redevelopment, along with progress on all other large non-critical Central Government projects, be indefinitely deferred so that the budgetary allocation for these projects can be diverted toward measures needed to fight the Corona Virus pandemic, specifically:

  • Ramping up of testing to determine numbers affected by the virus.
  • Ramping up of healthcare infrastructure, including the emergency conversion of public facilities like convention halls and indoor stadia into temporary hospitals.
  • Ramping up of the manufacture of necessary equipment such as ventilators, masks, hospital beds, etc.
  • Budgetary allocations to assist the economically vulnerable sections of the population in tiding through the crisis.

While all non-critical projects must be deferred for this purpose, the necessary assessment could take some time at a moment when urgent action and assurances are needed. We urge you to start the process by announcing deferment of the Central Vista Redevelopment. As a publicly prominent project, an immediate announcement of its indefinite deferment will be a strong assurance of the government’s commitment to take all possible measures to fight the Corona Virus pandemic on behalf of the citizens of India.