As the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic rages on in India, the country's Prime Minister Narendra Modi is facing backlash over the Central Vista project.
On Wednesday, May 12, leaders of 12 Opposition parties penned a joint letter to the Prime Minister seeking, among other things a free mass vaccination drive against COVID and suspension of the Central Vista project. They insisted that money from the contentious project should instead be diverted towards fighting the pandemic.
"Stop Central Vista construction. Use the allocated money for procuring oxygen and vaccines instead. Release all money held in the unaccounted private trust fund, PM Cares to buy more vaccines, Oxygen and medical equipment required," they told the prime minister in the letter, reported LiveMint.
The leaders blamed Modi's government for the "apocalyptic tragedy" unfolding in the country right now. They also demanded that the Centre provide food grains to the needy and give Rs 6,000 per month to all those unemployed, reported Economic Times.
The leaders have also accused his government of ignoring suggestions made by them. Their other list of demands includes repealing the three farm laws passed last year, giving Rs 6,000 per month to the unemployed, procuring vaccines centrally from all available sources, both global and domestic.
Among the signatories of the letter include Congress president Sonia Gandhi, former Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda, Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin, NCP supremo Sharad Pawar.
Critics have derided the project to revamp the Central Vista area, which is a heritage site in the heart of the nation's capital, for being too extravagant. Last month even though Delhi went into a lockdown to curb the spread of the virus, the project was declared an essential service.
Modi has faced backlash for deciding to move ahead with the Rs 20,000 crore project despite the fact that the country is facing one of the biggest disasters. Now, photography and video recording have been prohibited at the construction site near India Gate.