Supreme Court Refuses To Put Rs 20,000 Cr Delhi Central Vista Project On Hold Amid COVID-19 Outbreak

The massive project includes a new Parliament house, a new central secretariat complex for ministries, and new residences for the prime minister and the vice president.

India   |   30 April 2020 12:53 PM GMT / Updated : 2020-05-01T10:01:41+05:30
Editor : Prateek Gautam
Supreme Court Refuses To Put Rs 20,000 Cr Delhi Central Vista Project On Hold Amid COVID-19 Outbreak

The Supreme Court has refused to put the Central Vista Project, the Rs 20,000 crore project that seeks to build a new parliament and other central government offices in Lutyens' zone in central Delhi, on hold as of now.

A bench headed by Chief justice of India SA Bobde said that there is no urgency in staying the project as 'no one is going to do anything during COVID-19'.

"In Covid times no one going to do anything. There is no urgency. We will hear the plea later," the bench noted.

The SC's remark came on Thursday while hearing a petition opposing the Centre's decision to notify a change in land use regarding the redevelopment plan.

"A similar petition against the project is pending in court. During COVID-19 situation, nobody is going to do anything and there is no urgency," CJI SA Bobde observed.

The renovation plan of the Parliament building is a segment in the Centre's Central Vista project which includes a new Parliament house, a new Central secretariat complex for ministries, and new residences for the Prime Minister and the Vice President.

The entire project is estimated to be completed by 2024.

The petition challenged land use for the Central Vista project alleging that the project covering 86 acre is a "brash move" and will not let people enjoy open and green spaces.

Responding to the criticism and opposition to the plan, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the government, said, "Parliament is being constructed... Why should anyone have any objection?"

The Delhi Development Authority last December had changed the land use of a 15-acre plot from recreational to residential on Dalhousie Road near South Block where the new residence of the Prime Minister has been proposed.

The opposition parties have lashed out at the Centre's decision to give a nod to the project at a time when the country battles the deadly COVID-19. Congress president Sonia Gandhi wrote to PM Modi on April 10 urging him to suspend the Rs 20,000 crore allocated to the massive 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 in the letter.

Trinamool leader and MP Mahua Moitra also criticised 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," the MP said.

Also Read: COVID-19 Pandemic May Put 1.6 Billion People's Jobs At Risk Globally: UN Labour Body

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