Prime Minister Narendra Modi has ordered to rebuild some parts of New Delhi, and it is estimated that this project will cost billions at the time when the country is struggling with the devastating second wave of coronavirus.
The project covers an area as large as 50 football fields. India will get a new parliament building, and the present 94-years-old building, built during the British Raj will become a museum. Many details and not yet announced, but as per media reports said that new residence for the nation's prime minister will build and it will be readied by 2024, the year when Prime Minister will fight federal elections for the third time.
As per reports by local media, the massive project would cost about 200 million rupees, has grown controversies as the positive cases due to coronavirus has exploded in India.
On social media, many have questioned the need of spending such an amount on the structures and monuments, at the time country is dealing with the pandemic. One cartoon was shared on Twitter which depicts Indians dying because of the shortage of food, medical oxygen, ambulances, medical aids adjoining a picture of Prime Minister Modi announced the news about the new parliament.
The planned changes will print Modi's legacy by reconstructing one of the world's oldest cities, Central Delhi, which witnesses houses of the legislature and other historical buildings.
The project is now under construction and has blocked the entire section in the center of the capital city.
The government had claimed that architectural renovation is necessary because of the deterioration of the current buildings. During the laying of the foundation stone for the new triangular-shaped parliament last December, the prime minister said that "It is a landmark opportunity to build a peoples' parliament for the first time after Independence."
Criticizing this project, Akhil Bery, Washington based South Asia analyst at risk consultancy Eurasia Group, via email said, "Given the other needs of the economy right now, and the government's strained fiscal situation, it does raise questions about the priorities of the government and whether the money could be better spent elsewhere. Infrastructure is needed throughout India, and investing this money into roads and railways might be more beneficial, especially in the short-term."
Anuj Srivastava, a former architect in the Indian Army's Corps of Engineers, who filed a petition in the court against this project last year, mentioned, "It is ill throughout, the necessity of the project has not been established, the environment clearances have been problematic. Nobody builds a new parliament unless you can't re-purpose the old one, like the way Westminster is being restored and refurbished." But The Supreme Court rejected the petition and allowed the project to proceed, saying it didn't violate the environmental and land-use norms.
Historian Ramachandra Guha via text message said, "After the pandemic broke, the PM in his speech has repeatedly asked Indians to quit their jobs, time, lifestyles, their human and cultural tendencies to be gregarious, now the citizens must ask the PM to sacrifice something for the nation as well. His project to redesign central vista was always controversial. It is now absolutely untenable. He should drop it, he can and he should."
Another Historian Narayani Gupta said, "We common mortals will have no reason to go there, as government offices replace quiet spaces of art, history, performance, and leisure."
Delhi is a city which is plundered, constructed, rebuilt many times in the past. It has witnessed the rise and fall of ancient kingdoms like Tughlaqs and Mughals. And the critics cast this project as an attempt to erase the institutional memories.