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Pause, rethink Central vista: 76 scholars write to PM

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A group of 76 public intellectuals and scholars from India and abroad, including historian Romila Thapar, critic and scholar Gayatri Spivak, artist Anish Kapoor, writer Orhan Pamuk, Glenn Lowry (director, Museum of Modern Art, New York), have called for a halt and reconsideration of the government’s Central Vista redevelopment project.

In an open letter addressed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday, the scholars criticised the “extravagant project” in the “midst of a devastating pandemic, endangering workers, and squandering scarce resources that could be used to save lives.”

The letter says that the current “escalating health crisis calls for a pause and a reset.”

The Centre Tuesday had sought dismissal of the petition seeking an interim stay on the ongoing construction at Central Vista Avenue amid the Covid-19 pandemic, telling the Delhi High Court that the petition was “one more attempt” to stall the project.

“Such attempts are going on since the inception of the project under one pretext or the other and in one name or the other,” said the Union government. It added that a Covid-compliant facility had been installed at the site to accommodate the 250 workers who, it said, had expressed their willingness to continue the work.

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