Delhi HC dismisses plea seeking to halt construction work of Central Vista project; Govt rejects opposition criticism

Delhi HC dismisses plea seeking to halt construction work of Central Vista project; Govt rejects opposition criticism

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court today dismissed a petition which had sought a stay on the construction taking place at Central Vista Avenue in the National capital during the peak phase of COVID-19 pandemic and imposed a fine of one lakh rupees on the petitioner.

The division bench of Chief Justice D.N Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh said, the work at Central Vista Avenue is part and parcel of the work at Central Vista Project and of vital public importance. The Bench added that the construction of Central Vista Avenue Redevelopment cannot be seen in isolation. It said that since the workers are staying on project site, there is no question of issuing directions to suspend the work of Central Vista Avenue Redevelopment Project.

Stating that the whole Central Vista Project is an essential project of national importance, the Court today said, sovereign functions of Parliament are also going to be conducted there and the public is vitally interested in this project. The Court added that the legality of the project has been upheld by the Hon’ble Supreme Court. The court further noted that the work at Central Avenue has to be completed before November this year and said time is essence of the contract.

Meanwhile, the Government today dismissed opposition criticism of the Central Vista Project saying a false narrative has been created about the project in the last few months. Addressing media after Delhi High Court's nod to the project, Housing and Urban Affairs Minister, Hardeep Singh Puri said, two new projects -the New Parliament Building and Central Vista Avenue- are underway and the decision on these projects was taken before the COVID-19 pandemic.

Questioning the allegations about the money being spent on the projects, Minister Puri said the total cost of the projects is around 1300 crore rupees. He also rejected Congress's criticism adding that the project related to the new Parliament building has not been conceptualized recently and it was finalized during the previous UPA government. He asserted that the new Parliament Building is not a vanity project but a necessary project. The Minister said the government wants to finish the new Parliament building by 2022 to mark 75 years of independence.

Rejecting the media report that works on the Prime Minister's residence is expected to start in August this year,  Puri clarified that no design has been cleared for it and only the new Parliament building and the central vista stretch projects are currently underway.

Minister Puri also clarified that none of the historic, cultural, iconic buildings will be touched while completing the projects.