Central Vista needed or not?

Chennai: Though the Delhi High Court recently dismissed a challenge against the Central Vista redevelopment project, and fined the petitioner Rs 1 lakh as it called the plea ‘motivated’, the debate over the government’s ambitious project is yet to die down.

At this scenario, ‘NT’ presents you experts’ views on the issue. “Indian population has increased four times from 34 crore in 1947 to 139 crore in 2020. The number of Ministries with the Central government from 18 to 51 and government employees from single figure in lakhs to 66 lakhs,” says former IPS officer and technology entrepreneur Sachin Shridhar, adding: “The size of our Parliament by all world standards is too small.”

“The present Secretariat has only 22 of the 51 ministries while the rest are spread across Delhi. Besides better and swifter co-ordination, coming closer and under one roof opens up tremendous possibilities of centralised housekeeping, IT, logistics and eventual cutting down of wastage and peon/clerk flab,” he says.

According to him, the total cost of the entire Central Vista spread over four years is Rs 20,000 crore which with government’s total annual tax revenue of 20 lakh crore works out to only 0.25 per cent of the tax revenue every year. Not an earth shattering and criminal profligacy as many commentators will like us to believe.

The old buildings were made in the times when cars were a rare luxury and Metro was not even conceived. Today the commercial and Government hubs have to be seamlessly connected with Transportation.

Going forward, the Proposed Central vista will connect yellow and violet lines of Metro thereby removing the need to bring in coaches and small cars hordes of
Government officers and employees who come and park haplessly into the secretariat, he adds.

According to Congress leader Govind Singh Dotasra, the Rs 20,000 crore used for the project could fetch 62 crore vaccine doses, 22 crore Remdesivir injections and 3.10 crore litre of oxygen and could create 12,000 beds in various AIIMS.

Also, a group of 116 former civil servants, in an open letter to PM Narendra Modi, said, “Make adequate funds available to the states for provision of medical facilities and stop expenditures on non-essential items like the Central Vista Redevelopment Project. Draw on the existing surplus foodgrain stocks to provide free rations to the families of the marginalised and deprived sections of society as well as unorganised labour.”

 

NT Bureau