Synopsis: Demolition of national institutions for Central Vista Project require thorough analysis.
- The Government of India’s Central Vista redevelopment project is being treated as a national priority amid a pandemic. This is very debatable. The project comprises the construction of a new Parliament building and new residences for the Prime Minister and the Vice President.
- A new Parliament building is certainly required. There is a strong case for restructuring the existing offices of the central government. However, it is not the right time for giving priority to a development project over public good.
- Moreover, 76 scholars, artists, writers, curators, and museum professionals highlighted a major concerning facet of the project last week. The National Museum of India, the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (IGNCA), and the National Archives are set to be smashed to make way for new buildings.
Why there has been criticism of demolition of national institutions?
- Firstly, these experts have asked for a speedy suspension of the project. Their concern is valid about the preservation of the collections kept at these centers.
- Secondly, transfer of the materials at the National Museum, archival accounts at the National Archives, and manuscript holdings at the IGNCA can be a very perplexing task. It is a difficult task that needs thorough planning and knowledge.
- Thirdly, such major changes around chief institutions take place only after extensive talks in any part of the world. Not in an opaque and casual manner as it is being planned here.
- Fourthly, the experts have pointed out that articles at the National Museum still lack a complete inventory. This could lead to a risk of loss or mishandling.
- Lastly, the Central Vista redevelopment project is clearly being implemented in a hurry. The government’s intolerance towards any public analysis of the project is evident. They have even banned the photography of the construction.
The country is facing an unmatched health crisis. The impact of the crisis can also be felt on the economic, social, and political spheres. The government should suspend the project, and take the Opposition and the public into confidence on the future course, in calmer times.
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