Divya Kush, president, IIA, said safeguarding our “heritage-in-the-making” was important.

A week after NBCC (India) Limited issued a Notice Inviting Tender (NIT) to procure architectural and engineering consultancy service for the redevelopment of Pragati Maidan Complex, two national bodies — the Indian Institute of Architects (IIA) and the Council of Architects (COA) — have sent letters, objecting to the process of selection.

While the IIA letter of June 30 highlighted the lack of sensitivity to one of Delhi’s most important public spaces, the COA letter of June 24 states that the tender privileges financial statements of bidders, without any emphasis on design. The IIA letter mentioned how the NIT has only specified the built-up area without a proper brief on the context, given it is wedged between Lutyens’ Delhi, the Supreme Court and Purana Qila.

Divya Kush, president, IIA, said safeguarding our “heritage-in-the-making” was important. “Pragati Maidan is a public space and therefore matters to society at large. There should be a feasibility study before plans for redevelopment can happen…,” said Kush.

While the IIA letter talked of the social and cultural legacy of Pragati Maidan, COA contested the process of redevelopment itself. “A project of this magnitude, with nearly Rs 2,000 crore of public money involved, should have a transparent way of calling entries. The scope of this complex is so large that it will create history for the nation. It is therefore important that the focus is not on the lowest bid. Also, the selection process is not in keeping with the COA guidelines in the provisions of the Architects Act 1972,” said Vijay Garg, vice-president, COA.

The redevelopment project includes 2 lakh sqm of built-up exhibition area, a convention centre for 7000 people, a hotel, ancillary buildings for administration, and basement parking lots.