SC slams Centre’s aggressive push for Central Vista Project, halts all construction work at the site

The manner the project is being carried out looks less of a revamping exercise but more to leave a legacy in the public eye.

central vista

SC slams Centre for aggressively moving with the Central Vista Project

Supreme Court has expressed strong displeasure against the Centre for “moving forward aggressively” with the Central Vista project even as the issues relating to the redevelopment plan is yet to be ruled upon by the court.

SC directed the Centre to not undertake any construction or demolition for the Central Vista Project after Prime Minister Narendra Modi lays the foundation stone for the new Parliament building on December 10, Bar and Bench reported.

 The manner the project is being carried out looks less of a revamping exercise but more to leave a legacy in the public eye. The Government wants to finish this project before 2024 to ensure this impression stays with the public during the elections.

“You can lay the foundation stone, you can carry on paperwork but no construction or demolition, no cutting down any trees,” the Supreme Court told Solicitor General Tushar Mehta.

The Central Vista area in Lutyen’s Delhi houses iconic buildings like the Parliament House, Rashtrapati Bhavan, the North and South Block buildings, and the India Gate.

Supreme Court has asked Solicitor General Tushar Mehta to get clear instructions to ensure no construction takes place in the Central Vista project in central Delhi.

During the hearing on Monday, the Supreme Court granted 5-minutes’ time to the Centre to apprise it about the government’s view on the construction of the Central Vista project.

Also Read- Withdraw hasty Environment Clearance to Central Vista Project: NAPM

The court has allowed the Centre to go ahead with the foundation stone-laying ceremony of the Central Vista project while noting that no construction, demolition or felling of trees shall take place at the Central Vista site as of now.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, on instructions, undertook on behalf of the Centre that there won’t be any construction, demolition or shifting of trees in the Central Vista till Supreme Court delivers its judgment.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will lay the foundation stone on December 10 for the new Parliament building. Construction of the new establishment was expected to be completed by 2022 at an estimated cost of Rs 971 crore.

The Central Vista revamp plan, aimed at giving Delhi’s power corridor a complete makeover, is estimated to cost around Rs 20,000 crore. It will include the construction of a new triangular-shaped Parliament, new PM residence, and 10 new building blocks to accommodate government offices, including Shastri Bhavan, Nirman Bhavan, Udyog Bhavan, Krishi Bhavan, and Vayu Bhavan, among others.

No transparency in the Project

From the beginning, the revamping is projected as a normal exercise to bring all ministries together. But something that will have a lasting impact on the heritage and environment of the area has continued without a single parliamentary debate about the project, without any environmental impact assessment or any detailed heritage auditing.

The land-use change has been notified even as a petition challenging the project is pending in the Supreme Court.

The manner the project is being carried out looks less of a revamping exercise but more to leave a legacy in the public eye. The Government wants to finish this project before 2024 to ensure this impression stays with the public during the elections.

The lack of transparency throughout the project (from how the design was chosen to the bidding to the lack of parliamentary debate) highlights that the Government willfully does not want any interference of the opposition or the public in its masterplan.

Many historians, sociologists, activists, and architects denounced this project and have banded together under a common banner called Lokpath. Lokpath circulated information about how the money for the project will be a colossal waste and could be used for other necessities like building the public health system. According to the poster, if the money was spent on building AIIMS hospitals, then we could have had 15 new public hospitals in the country, which is something that the country desperately needs at the moment.

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