Malls are vulgar display of wealth: Union Minister



New Delhi: Targeting malls, a Union Minister on Saturday described them as "energy guzzlers", which reflect "vulgar display" of money and sought regulations on such shopping centres.

"Shopping malls are vulgar display of wealth and a vulgar wastage of energy and space," Minister of State for Urban Development Saugata Roy said at a seminar, agreeing with environmentalist R K Pachauri who also described the malls as "energy guzzlers".

The remarks were made while the Minister and Pachauri were interacting with the audience at a conference on 'Green Design: Building and Habitat' organised by Ministry of New and Renewable Energy and The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI).

"It is high time the society steps in and put certain regulations on shopping malls which are energy guzzlers," Roy, a Trinamool Congress leader, said.

Accusing owners of shopping malls of not making any special effort for energy conservation or water conservation, the Minister said, "Apart from the psychological impact they create on the poorer sections of society, the energy that they guzzle is terrible."

"It seems their principle is show how much you can waste and how much you can miss," he said but added that shopping malls will come up in a market-driven economy.

Recently, Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh had termed sports utility vehicles (SUVs) as diesel guzzlers and called their use in the country "criminal".

Pachauri said malls in India are "identical replica of what you have in north America."

"I find it baffling that so many of these shopping malls coming up all over the country. And I have some serious objections. You know they are huge energy guzzlers," he said.

Pachauri said the people who operate the malls would save a lot of money if they spend some wealth and effort in making them a little more energy-efficient.

"But unfortunately that is not happening. So something has to be done and there is something terribly wrong that all these shopping malls are coming up are an identical replica of what you have in north America. I don't see why we should be doing this here," he added.

PTI