Calls to scrap Central Vista project grow

Almost all opposition parties have urged Modi to shelve the project and spend the money instead on advancing the fight against Covid-19.
(HT Photo)
(HT Photo)
Published on Apr 10, 2020 06:11 AM IST
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Hindustan Times, New Delhi | ByAurangzeb Naqshbandi and Anisha Dutta

Pressure is mounting on the Narendra Modi government to put on hold the central vista redevelopment project in New Delhi and the construction of a new Parliament building as the nation battles the deadly coronavirus disease outbreak, which has claimed 166 lives and infected 5,095 people as of Thursday.

Almost all opposition parties have urged Modi to shelve the project and spend the money instead on advancing the fight against Covid-19.

Congress president Sonia Gandhi wrote a letter to the PM on Tuesday in which she listed five austerity tips that included suspending the Rs 20,000 crore allocated to the project. “At a time like this, such an outlay seems self-indulgent to say the least. I am certain that Parliament can function comfortably within the existing historical buildings. There is no urgent or pressing requirement that cannot be postponed until this crisis is contained,” she wrote.

“This sum could instead be allocated towards constructing new hospital infrastructure and diagnostics along with equipping our frontline workers with better facilities,” added Gandhi.

NCP chief Sharad Pawar urged Modi to consider postponing the move after examining the country’s current priorities.

His views were echoed by DMKleader TR Baalu who told the PM the need of the hour is to abandon the move. “It is not required at this moment. The government should instead divert the Rs 25,000 crore earmarked for the project to step up efforts to fight Covid-19,” he said.

CPI (M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury too questioned the timing of issuing the land use change notification. “When all resources must be mopped up to meet this Covid-19 challenge, a gazette notification is issued for the Rs 20,000 crore central vista project. Shame,” he tweeted.

TMC leader Mahua Moitra also slammed the move. “The government is suspending MPLADS funds for two years for generate resources to fight Covid-19 but wants to spend Rs 20,000 crore on the central vista project,” she said.

“The project was scheduled to be tendered in April but given the current situation all resources have been diverted to fight Covid-19. There will be delays for now, but we are on track and will make up for the time lost,” a senior official said, requesting anonymity. The BJP refused to comment on the matter.

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Friday, January 28, 2022