NEW DELHI: As the government’s ambitious project to redevelop Central Vista in Lutyens’ Delhi is gaining momentum, a citizen’s collective ‘LokPATH’ has started a petition urging the government to put the project on hold until “important questions and concers” are answered.
LokPATH has started an online signature petition ‘Save Rajpath, Save Delhi’ to the Union ministry of home and urban affairs and central public works department.
Saying the project involves the spatial epicentre of India’s democracy, the petition asks: “What is the vision for the future of India’s democracy that this space should represent, given that it houses the key institutions that will sustain that democracy – as also that in the mind of most Indians it embodies that very democracy? Is there a larger understanding of this space and its significance to the collective memory of Indians?”
“From countless Republic Day Parades to Beating the Retreats, from Gandhiji’s funeral cortège to family ice cream outings. Why was this vision not articulated through a transparent and democratic debate in advance of the project launch?” asks the petition.
Given the historical significance of Central Vista and its surroundings, why did a detailed heritage audit not take place prior to the bidding? it says.
The petition says, “Why does it appear that Heritage buildings of Grade 1 and Grade 2 category are being demolished, or even worse, being called upon to tamper with – beyond the scope of what is allowed?”
Asserting that the project will have adverse environmental impact, the petition says,”Why has an environmental impact analysis not been done, and published, as a precursor to the project?
The petition while mentioning that the project can affect the already choking city due to air pollution, also said that it is possible that “1000 trees would be cut” to make way for the construction.
The petition urges fellow citizens to sign the petition so that important questions are answered.
The Prime Minister’s residence and office are likely to be shifted near the South Block and the Vice President’s new house will be in the vicinity of the North Block as per a blueprint prepared by the government for the Central Vista redevelopment project, sources said.
The Vice President’s residence is among those buildings identified by the government for demolition in Lutyens’ Delhi, they said.
The redevelopment project of the Central Vista envisages a triangular Parliament building next to the existing one, a common Central Secretariat and the revamping of the three-km-long Rajpath – from Rashtrapati Bhavan to India Gate. The triangular Parliament building is targeted to be constructed by August 2022.

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