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Narendra Modi wants to rebuild New Delhi for no good reason

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The Narendra Modi government wants to “develop/redevelop” the heart of the capital of India, the Central Vista that extends from Rashtrapati Bhavan to India Gate in New Delhi. The question is, why? What is the need to do so? What’s the objective?

The Central Public Works Department has issued a notice inviting tenders, but the bid document, titled: “Development/Redevelopment of Parliament Building, Common Central Secretariat and Central Vista at New Delhi”, says very little about the objective. The government doesn’t even know whether it wants to “develop” the Central Vista or “redevelop” it. Surely there must be some difference between the two.

It further reads: “The objective of the bid documents is to re-plan the entire Central Vista area from the gates of Rashtrapati Bhavan up to India Gate, an area of approximately four square kilometres. A new Master Plan is to be drawn up for the entire Central Vista area that represents the values and aspirations of a New India – Good Governance, Efficiency, Transparency, Accountability and Equity and is rooted in the Indian Culture and social milieu.”

The Central Vista buildings were designed by Lutyens and Baker by assimilating Indian architectural styles into the idea of a capital city as it exists in the West. The similarity between the Rashtrapati Bhavan’s dome and that of the Sanchi Stupa is not coincidental.

How are new buildings going to “represent” New India? How does a new building “represent” “Good Governance, Efficiency, Transparency, Accountability and Equity”? Is it worth the time, money and effort to build a new capital just to “represent” values and aspirations? Would it not be better to practice “Good Governance” rather than “represent” it in architecture?

Also read: Why people endorse Modi’s economic performance despite economic slowdown

The note says, “The Master Plan shall entail concept, plan, detailed design and strategies development/redevelopment works, refurbishment works, demolition of existing buildings as well as related infrastructure and site development works.”

Which building should be refurbished? Which ones would be demolished........

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