Several former civil servants have written an open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressing their disappointment over the centre's ambitious central vista redevelopment project, which, they have said is "wasteful and unnecessary", News18 reported.
The 69 signatories including former IAS officers Jawhar Sircar, Jawed Usmani, Harsh Mander and former IPS officers AS Dulat, Amitabh Mathur said that the project is "marked by a degree of executive highhandedness from its very inception."
The centre is planning to rebuild the parliament building as part of the ambitious Central Vista project, that aims to renovate the government buildings on part of the 3 km Rajpath that stretches from the Rashtrapati Bhavan to the iconic war memorial India Gate.
The Central Public Works Department (CPWD), which is executing the massive project, has revised its estimated cost from ₹ 11,794 crore to ₹ 13,450 crores.
The retired civil servants claimed that the nation's public health infrastructure needs desperate investment and questioned why this "wasteful and unnecessary project must take precedence over social priorities like health and education".
"Notwithstanding the specious reasoning as to why a new Parliament building is at all necessary, it is a matter of great dismay that at a time when we are faced with an economy in perilous decline and a pandemic which has brought untold misery to millions, the government has chosen to invest vast sums on a project which represents nothing but the pursuit of pomp and grandeur," the letter stated.
The letter also pointed at the "brazen impropriety" in going ahead with the construction of the new Parliament building while the matter is still sub judice.
"Of particular concern is the manner in which environmental clearances were obtained for a plan which treats the green spaces and the built heritage of the central vista as an unnecessary hurdle to the achievement of objectives driven by monumental ambition," the letter alleged.
"The prime minister is the head of the executive, not of the legislature. For a building that will accommodate the two Houses of Parliament, the appropriate protocol would have been for the President of India to lay the foundation stone. This was a clear instance of breach of constitutional propriety," it added.
Also Read: Central Vista Project: All You Need To Know