The Supreme Court has agreed to hear a petition to suspend construction work on the ambitious Central Vista project at a time when the country is grappling with the deadly second wave of Covid which has killed thousands and crippled the healthcare system. The opposition and activists have been hitting out hard at the government for continuing with work on the project in the middle of the pandemic.
Senior advocate Sidharth Luthra, who represented the two petitioners, had requested the Chief Justice of India to take up the plea after the Delhi High Court deferred the hearing of the request till May 17.
The construction work for the Rs. 20,000 crore project in the heart of the capital’s power corridors has been brought under the ambit of “essential services”, a move that has angered the opposition.
In Delhi, which is under a lockdown, construction work is permitted at construction sites where workers have been given on-site accommodation. But when NDTV did a spot check at the location last week, not many were found camping at the construction site. Most of the workers were found coming from a part of Delhi 16 km away.
The grand makeover plan also recently received an environmental clearance which paves way for a new home for the Prime Minister to be built by December 2022. The Vice President’s house is expected to be completed by May next year.
The redevelopment project of Central Vista envisages a new triangular parliament building, a common central secretariat and revamping of the three-km-long Rajpath from Rashtrapati Bhavan to India Gate.
Sources said the government is determined that preparations for India’s 75th Independence Day must continue.