File photo: Union minister Hardeep Singh Puri.(PTI)
File photo: Union minister Hardeep Singh Puri.(PTI)

‘Welcome SC verdict on Central Vista, govt sensitive to environmental concerns’: Puri

The apex court on Tuesday gave its nod to the Central Vista project by a 2:1 majority.
By HT Correspondent | Hindustan Times, New Delhi
UPDATED ON JAN 05, 2021 09:37 PM IST

Union minister for housing and urban affairs Hardeep Singh Puri on Tuesday said the government welcomes the Supreme Court judgement giving green signal to the Central Vista redevelopment project. He asserted that the government has always been sensitive to environmental concerns.

The apex court on Tuesday gave its nod to the Central Vista project by a 2:1 majority. The three-judge bench, however, insisted that the clearance of the Heritage Conservation Committee (HCC) will be mandatory and the same should be obtained by the project consultant before proceeding with the development work.

“We welcome the Judgement of the Hon’ble Supreme Court giving the go ahead for the ambitious Central Vista Project. Central Govt has always been sensitive to environmental concerns & will continue to adhere to the highest standards during the period of construction,” Puri tweeted.

“Delhi is on course to becoming a World Class capital city and in the first step by the time nation completes 75 years of its Independence in 2022 a new Parliament building will be ready reflecting the aspirations of new India,” his tweet read.

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The plan, being handled by the ministry of housing and urban affairs, involves a new Parliament by India’s 75th Independence Day in 2022. The entire project is slated to be finished by 2024.

According to the project implementing agency the Central Public Works Department, the construction of the new Parliament is required to be completed strictly within the prescribed time limit of 21 months with the “highest standards of quality and workmanship”.

Last month, the environment ministry’s expert appraisal committee (EAC) conditionally approved new terms of reference for the development or redevelopment of common central secretariat buildings, a central conference centre, the Prime Minister’s Residence, Vice President’s Enclave and a building for the Special Protection Group (SPG) as part of the Central Vista project.

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The EAC had specified as many as 18 conditions, asking the Central Public Works Department (CPWD) to list the environmental, social and economic benefits of the project and the cumulative impact of all developments undertaken in the Central Vista avenue including its effect on baseline environmental quality, according to the minutes of a December 17 meeting.

The total built-up area has been reduced from 18,37,057 sq.m to 17,21, 500 sq.m, but the cost of the redevelopment project has increased by Rs 1,656 crore, from Rs 11,794 crore to Rs 13,450 crore.

The minutes suggest that around 4,58,820.0 sq m of built-up area will need to be demolished as part of the project.

According to the tender for the next phase of the Central Vista redevelopment project — the redevelopment and restructuring of the Central Vista Avenue, which includes most of the Rajpath stretch and the row of government offices that run parallel to it - the contractors will have to install air purifiers and keep construction noise under preset thresholds, HT had reported on November 9.

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 spread over 30 buildings now.

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