Central Vista redevelopment: Contractors will need to curb air, noise pollution
The next phase of the Central Vista redevelopment project will require contractors to install air purifiers and keep construction noise under preset thresholds, according to tender documents seen by HT that lay down some broad guidelines for what companies must accept when they file their bids next month.
This phase will involve redevelopment and restructuring the Central Vista Avenue, which includes the majority of the Rajpath stretch and the row of government offices that are parallel to it. In addition to the air and noise pollution limits for work in this area, which is one of the Capital’s best known landmarks, the Union government has put a 300-day deadline and the work will need to be carried out in patches in order to minimise the portion of the avenue that is out of bounds at any given time.
In its tender, Centre has said the bidder shall follow all green construction practices and shall get periodic green audit conducted as per extant guidelines. “The contractor will also have to install air quality monitors, required number of air purifiers to maintain air quality index below acceptable levels of PM 2.5 -- within 150 [for] up to 500m from the site of work -- during the entire construction period,” the tender documents say.
Similarly, the contractor will also have to install noise monitors and take steps to keep the sound level below 90/120 dB between 6:00am to 10:00pm and 60/90 dB between 10.00pm to 6.00am.
Construction firms interested in taking up the project will need to submit technical plans and financial bids on December 1. “The contractor may have to execute the work in three shifts with large manpower of workers, supervisors and professional engineers,” the tender document said.
“The site shall be kept clean of all debris, rubbish and dirt & surplus/waste material all the time. It also includes maintenance, cleaning & de-silting the pipe lines laid by the contractor for all internal services etc executed by the contractor to the entire satisfaction of the engineer-in-charge during the maintenance periods,” the document added.
These conditions appeared to take on concerns expressed by experts and activists that the redevelopment will pollute one of the cleanest parts of the city.
“It is an illusion that air pollution can be managed through fixes like air purifiers. The tender for redevelopment of the Central Vista is being pushed through without a thorough assessment of the ecological footprint, social legitimacy and public health concerns,” said Kanchi Kohli, a legal researcher at the Centre for Policy Research.
“It appears that fait accompli was built into all regulatory and legal processes ever since the timelines were announced in 2019. So inclusion of conditions to manage air pollution pays lip service to a huge health and environmental crisis that the country is facing today. And more importantly gives the signal that the central government is pushing through a massive area development project by ignoring all calls for public engagement and disclosure,” Kohli added.
Whichever firm is selected, it will be responsible for comprehensive maintenance and operation for a period of 60 months after completion of construction.
The second phase of the project will include the demolition of dozens of office buildings.
Broadly, the plan includes razing buildings such as Shastri Bhawan, Udyog Bhawan and Krishi Bhawan that house important government ministries to build a common secretariat for roughly 70,000 central government employees who are located in 30 buildings.
The documents lay down some cost estimates: ₹463.10 crore of which ₹333.12 crore will be for the ‘Civil & Horticulture Component’, ₹114.46 crore for the ‘Electrical & Mechanical component’ and ₹15.51 crore for ‘Operation & Maintenance’ for five years. “This estimate, however, is given merely as a rough guide,” the tender document said.
Site of the work will be handed over to the contractor within 15 days of being awarded the contract, the bid document said, adding that during these 15 days, the “contractor shall take up mobilization activities.”
The work on the second phase is proceeding at a time when the Supreme Court is about to decide on a legal challenge against the first phase – which includes the construction of a new parliament building.
The plan, being handled by the ministry of housing and urban affairs, involves having a new Parliament by India’s 75th Independence Day in 2022, and the entire project is slated to be finished by 2024.
Tata Projects Limited emerged as the lower bidder for the tender to construct the new Parliament complex by quoting a bid of ₹861.90 crore when the financial bids for the project opened on September 16 and it was awarded the contract to construct the building on September 29.