Construction work underway on the Central Vista redevelopment project at Rajpath in New Delhi.(Arvind Yadav/HT PHOTO)
Construction work underway on the Central Vista redevelopment project at Rajpath in New Delhi.(Arvind Yadav/HT PHOTO)

Central Vista: Lack of labour slows office complex work

The construction of two office complexes that were being built at Kasturba Gandhi Marg and Africa Avenue in central Delhi to shift offices from the Central Vista for the ongoing revamp project has been delayed due to a shortage of workers and changes to the buildings’ plans, a senior Central Public Works Department (CPWD) official said on Thursday
By Risha Chitlangia, New Delhi
UPDATED ON MAY 14, 2021 01:09 AM IST

The construction of two office complexes that were being built at Kasturba Gandhi Marg and Africa Avenue in central Delhi to shift offices from the Central Vista for the ongoing revamp project has been delayed due to a shortage of workers and changes to the buildings’ plans, a senior Central Public Works Department (CPWD) official said on Thursday.

CPWD officials said a revised deadline for the two complexes is yet to be finalised.

The two complexes, which will house 29 departments, mostly defence agencies, were to be completed by March this year.

A senior CPWD official aware of the development said, “There were some changes in the floor plans requested by departments that will shift there, because of which we had to rework the drawings. We were hoping to complete the work by June, but the pace of work has been affected due to a shortage of workers. A large number of labourers have left due to the Covid-19 situation in the Capital and the lockdown.”

The Union ministry of housing and urban affairs did not respond to requests for a comment.

The lockdown in the city, which was imposed on April 20 to arrest an alarming rise in Covid-19 cases and deaths, has seen several migrant workers leave the Capital for their home towns and villages, leading to delays in several infrastructure projects, including the Pragati Maidan revamp, and construction of the Dwarka expressway.

The CPWD is building the two office complexes to relocate offices, especially from the hutments around the North and South blocks, to make way for the construction of the Vice President and Prime Minister’s residences, Special Protection Group (SPG) office building, and others, as part of the Central Vista redevelopment project.

HT on May 4 reported that the V-P, and PM’s new residences are scheduled to be completed by May and December 2022, respectively, according to the CPWD, the nodal agency for the Vista project, as the environment ministry’s expert appraisal committee (EAC) has granted the necessary clearance for the rest of the buildings under the plan.

There was no clarity if the delay in the construction of the two complexes will impact work on the PM, VP’s residences.

While the office complex at KG Marg will have three blocks of nine-storeyed buildings (ground plus eight), the one at Africa Avenue will have four blocks of eight-storey buildings.

“Work on the buildings is around 65% complete. We were hoping to complete it by June, but it looks difficult now, since we don’t have sufficient labour available. The structures are almost ready. We have to complete the floor-wise work as per the revised plan. Another reason for the delay is trouble getting in the construction material due to the partial lockdowns and labour shortages in other parts of the country,” said the official.

A senior CPWD official said a review meeting was held on Wednesday regarding all the agency’s ongoing projects in the country.

“We are facing a shortage of workers at all our projects. The shortage varies from 20 to 80%, depending on the site. The problem is less acute at sites where we have on-site labour.”

Meanwhile, the Indira Gandhi National Centre for Arts (IGNCA), where the three buildings of the new common central secretariat are proposed to be built, is yet to be completely moved to Janpath hotel, its temporary home for next three years. The arts and culture centre was to complete the shifting process by mid-May.

“The process got stalled due to the lockdown,” said an IGNCA official. The deadline for completing the shifting process will be revised depending on when the lockdown is lifted, said the official.

As for the work related to Central Vista, the CPWD official said that no decision has been taken to revise the deadline of various project components.

The entire Vista project is slated to be completed by September 2026.

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