NEW DELHI: A group of about 90 eminent citizens, including architects, historians, urban planners, environmentalists, academics and artists, have jointly written a petition to the Delhi Urban Arts Commission (DUAC), urging the body to reject the proposal for a new Parliament building as part of the Central Vista redevelopment plan.
The group asked the DUAC to examine the project as a comprehensive plan and not to consider the proposed Parliament building separately. "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," read the letter, which has been signed by historian Narayani Gupta, conservationist and urban planner AGK Menon, noted architect Ranjit Sabikhi, professor Ritu Dewan, architect & planner Neha Sarwate and several others.
"We, therefore, ask you as esteemed members of the commission to 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," it aded.
Citing a Supreme Court order on the matter, the group — in the letter to the chairman of DUAC and its four members on Tuesday — said: "Reject the Central Public Works Department (CPWD) and Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs' (MoHUA's) proposal for the Parliament Building on grounds of incomplete information and deliberately misleading the commission." A fresh letter of 14 new signatories, mainly artists, was also sent on Wednesday.
The development came after reports, which stated that the DUAC had returned to the proposal and sought additional details. "The Supreme Court of India has emphasised 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," the letter read.
A functionary of the commission confirmed to have received the letter. "They (signatories) have raised a very pertinent question. The whole area and the building are grade-I heritage zone. Its overall composition and as well as the architecture must be respected," the official said.
It is mandatory to get approval from the DUAC for every project or structure in the national capital that is likely to affect the skyline or the aesthetics of the surroundings — particularly in heritage zones such as India Gate and its vicinity.
Under the contentious Rs 20,000 crore project — the CPWD has proposed to build a cluster of new buildings — offices of all ministries along the Rajpath, residences for the prime minister and vice-president, Prime Minister's Office (PMO) and a Parliament house.