Urban

Reject Centre's New Parliament Building Proposal: Architects, Others to Delhi Urban Arts Body

In a letter, civil society members said that it would be "inappropriate" for the DUAC to examine the proposal while the Supreme Court was reviewing the entire Central Vista Redevelopment Project.

New Delhi: Civil society members, including reputed architects, have written a letter to the Delhi Urban Arts Commission seeking a rejection of the urban affairs ministry’s proposal for the new Parliament building part under the Central Vista Redevelopment Project.

According to report in The Hindu on June 23, the Centre’s proposal to construct a new Parliament building in time for Independence Day 2022 was presented before the DUAC but not approved after the commission sought additional details about the project.

In this context, the signatories of the letter, including several prominent architects of the country, pointed out that the project in question was a part of the Central Vista Redevelopment project undertaken by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development (MoHUA) and the Central Public Works Development (CPWD). The letter further said that the apex court had held that all matters relating to the Central Vista project must be placed before the court as a part of the ongoing hearings challenging various procedural and substantive aspects of the project.

The letter also said that since the Supreme Court was reviewing the entire Central Vista redevelopment, it would be “inappropriate, misleading and illegal” for the DUAC to limit itself to only the Parliament building under its review.

The signatories further implored the DUAC to reject the proposal for the parliament building on the grounds of “incomplete information and deliberately misleading the commission” and take up a comprehensive appraisal of the “entire Central Vista redevelopment” in addition to soliciting public comments to inform the DUAC’s scrutiny.

Also read: Behind Modi’s Plans to Redevelop the Central Vista is a Covert Political Agenda

The letter by civil society members also emphasised that any appraisal of the project should include an assessment of “the potential to repurpose the present Parliament and other buildings to meet future functional demands”.

The Delhi Urban Arts Commission was established under an act of parliament in 1973 to advise the Centre on matters of preservation, development and maintenance of the aesthetic quality of the capital’s urban and environmental design.

The entire text of the letter has been reproduced below.

§

June 23, 2020

To
Prof. Dr. P.S.N. Rao (Chairperson)
Smt. Sonali Rastogi (Member)
Shri Abhimanyu Dalal (Member)
Shri Samir Mathur (Member)
Shri Kamran Rizvi (Member)

Subject: Request to reject the proposal for the New Parliament Building part of the Central Vista Redevelopment

Dear Members of Delhi Urban Arts Commission,

This is further to the letter dated May 7, 2020 regarding the DUAC’s review of the new Parliament building on Plot 118, that you may have received from some among us signatories here as well as other concerned citizens. It has been reported in The Hindu , today on June 23rd 2020 that the DUAC considered this proposal during one of its meetings earlier this month as well as in May, although the minutes of these meetings are yet to be uploaded on this website. The newspaper reports that the proposal has been returned to the proponent requesting some additional information.

As you are aware, the new Parliament building is part of the larger Central Vista Redevelopment project undertaken by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development (MoHUA) and the Central Public Works Development (CPWD). It is in this regard we would like to bring to your attention that the Supreme Court of India has emphasized that all matters related to the Central Vista project which includes the Parliament building be placed before them, as part of the ongoing hearings challenging various procedural and substantive aspects. In an order dated June 19, 2020, the Supreme Court in SPECIAL LEAVE PETITION (CIVIL) Diary No(s). 8430/2020 has directed:

“We make it clear that any other petition/proceedings instituted or to be filed hereafter by any party concerning the subject Project, be heard and proceeded along with the present cases.”

A copy of this order is attached for your reference which makes it clear that the Supreme Court is reviewing the entire Central Vista redevelopment as “the project”, not only single plots or single buildings proposed as part of it. Therefore, it would be inappropriate, misleading and illegal for the DUAC to limit itself only to the Parliament building as part of its review. We therefore ask you as esteemed members of the commission to:

1. Reject the CPWD and MoHUA’s proposal for the Parliament Building on grounds of incomplete information and deliberately misleading the commission.
2. Consider appraising only a comprehensive proposal of the entire Central Vista redevelopment and while doing so, ask for public comments that can inform the DUAC’s scrutiny.
3. Any appraisal of project materials by the DUAC should necessarily include an assessment of the potential to repurpose the present Parliament and other buildings to meet future functional demands, and a Heritage Impact Assessment of the proposed new buildings on the Central Vista to evaluate the specific measures that the project has taken to safeguard the heritage value of both the Parliament Building and the Central Vista.

We would like to reiterate that the DUAC was established under the DUAC Act, 1974 with a responsibility to”advise the Government of India in the matter of preserving, developing and maintaining the aesthetic quality of urban and environmental design within Delhi and to provide advice and guidance to any local body in respect of any project of building operations or engineering operations or any development proposal which affects or is likely to affect the skyline or the aesthetic quality of the surroundings or any public amenity provided therein”.

We do hope that the DUAC will uphold this critical mandate and ensure there is no breach of public trust that the committee has been empowered to uphold.

Thank you for your attention and urgent and proactive diligence in this matter.

Sincerely,
1. AGK Menon
2. Abhishek Bij
3. Aditi Prakash
4. Amrita Dasgupta
5. Amritha Ballal
6. Amol Lad
7. Aniket Mahajan
8. Anuj Srivastava
9. Anuradha Parikh
10. Arun Bij
11. Arun Rewal
12. Arvind Varshney
13. Ashok Dhawan
14. Ayesha Hussain
15. B K Tanuja
16. Balbir Verma
17. Bhawna Jaimini
18. Bijoy Ramachandran
19. Biju Kuriakose
20. Cyrus Patell
21. Chaitanya Verma
22. Deepika Ghosh Saxena
23. Dhara Mittal
24. Divya Vats
25. Ekta Gyani
26. Geeta Kapur
27. Helly Solanki
28. Iram Sultan
29. Jaba Banerjee
30. Jasleen Waraich
31. Jasmine Singh
32. Krithi Cariappa
33. Kusum Gupta
34. Madhav Raman
35. Manila Agarwal
36. Manju Menon
37. Mohit Kansal
38. Narayan Moorthy
39. Narayani Gupta
40. Neha Sarwate
41. Nikhil Dhar
42. Nilina Deb Lal
43. Nishant Mittal
44. Parikshit Dalal
45. Payal Khurana
46. Pooja Saxena
47. Poonam Verma Mascarenhas
48. Prakash Mandavia
49. Pramod Balakrishnan
50. Prem Chandavarkar
51. Radhika Viswanathan
52. Rahul Kadri
53. Rajiv Mishra
54. Ranjit Sabikhi
55. Rajesh Advani
56. Rajesh Luthra
57. Rajiv Bhakat
58. Raka Chakravarty
59. Ravi Kaima
60. Ravish Mehra
61. Reena Parikh
62. Revathi Sekhar Kamath
63. Ritu Dewan
64. Ritu Ngapnun Varuni
65. Riyaz Tayyabji
66. Ruturaj Parikh
67. Sanjay Kanvinde
68. Sanjay Srivastava
69. Sanjeev Joshi
70. Salil Ranadive
71. Shabbir Unwala
72. Shernaz Cama
73. Shishir Raval
74. Shridhar Rao
75. Shubhayan M.
76. Sneha Visakha
77. Sourabh Jain
78. Sudha Gopalakrishnan
79. Sudipto Ghosh
80. Sushil L Karer
81. Vaishnavi Sharma
82. Vallari Sheel
83. Verendra Wakhloo
84. Vikram Varma
85. Vina Verghese Biswas
86. Vivan Sundaram
87. Vrinda Kanvinde