In a letter addressed to the Prime Minister, Viswam said that the global pandemic caused by the COVID-19 virus has taken an unimaginable toll in all facets of life, from the tragic loss of life to the catastrophic impact on the economy.
"I write this letter to urge you to reconsider a project that has been allocated large funding but serves a very limited purpose- the redevelopment of the Central Vista in New Delhi. You have publicly stated that the redevelopment is to commemorate the 75th year of India's Independence and thereby allocated a budget of more than 20,000 crores," Viswam said.
He said that the country has been in a lockdown since March 24 and that the impact on the already flailing economy has been catastrophic and the lives of millions of Indians have been thrown into disarray, with uncertainty about the future causing even more hardship.
"Considering the larger issues that plague our country at the moment, ranging from mass unemployment, a crippling economy, social disharmony, environmental decay and a health pandemic that threatens our very existence, the redevelopment of the Central Vista must place very low on the issues that the government needs to address at the moment," Viswam said.
"If one is to even consider the redevelopment plans of the Central Vista momentarily, it is obvious that there is a lack of social and historical context to the project amongst other issues of transparency and credibility to the entire tendering and allocation process," he added.
Viswam said that in times like these, it is incumbent upon all governments to focus their energies on the fundamental needs of the people and the nation.
"The Parliament of India has been the site of historic moments in the Indian state from the adoption of the Indian Constitution to the frequent sessions of parliament which form the core of Indian democracy," he said.
The MP said that the Central Vista has been a space of continuity between the people and those in power and added that the redevelopment plans seek to change these symbolic structures, they seek to turn the Parliament into a mere museum, restrict public access to spaces erstwhile considered the heart of Indian democracy and create a physical and symbolic distance between the Government and its people.
"Further, there have been no public consultations on this process, no environmental or social impact studies, no expert opinions of historians, urban planners, architects, sociologists and other professionals. Instead, the entire process has been hidden in a veil of secrecy and opaqueness," Viswam added.
( With inputs from ANI )