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Indian Polity

Centre’s Stand on Central Vista Redevelopment Project

  • 04 Nov 2020
  • 4 min read

Why in News

The Central Government has recently tried to justify its decision to construct a new Parliament building under the proposed 'Central Vista Redevelopment' project, in the Supreme Court (SC).

  • One of the issues raised by the petitioners was if it’s possible to refurbish and use the existing Parliament building.

Central Vista Redevelopment Project

  • The Union Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs proposed the Central Vista redevelopment project in 2019.
  • The project envisages:
    • Constructing a triangular Parliament building next to the existing one.
    • Constructing Common Central Secretariat.
    • Revamping of the 3-km-long Rajpath — from Rashtrapati Bhavan to India Gate.
      • North and South Block to be repurposed as museums.
  • Currently, the Central Vista of New Delhi houses Rashtrapati Bhawan, Parliament House, North and South Block, India Gate, National Archives among others.

Key Points

  • Centre’s Stand:
    • Underlining the cost and infrastructure advantages of the proposed project, the Centre told the SC that the question whether or not to have a new Parliament building is a policy decision which the government is entitled to take.
    • The government had taken an important policy decision to construct a Parliament complex and central secretariat as the existing one is under tremendous stress. Further, the project cannot come up at Noida or elsewhere, but on Central Vista.
  • Arguments Put Forward by the Government:
    • Pre Independence building: The current one was built in 1927 to house the legislative council and was not intended to house a bicameral legislature that the country has today.
    • Lack of Space: The current building will be under more stress when the number of seats to Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha are raised. Both Houses are already packed and members have to sit on plastic chairs when joint sessions are held, diminishing the dignity of the House.
    • Safety Concerns: The existing building does not conform to fire safety norms. Water and sewer lines are also haphazard and this is damaging its heritage nature. Security concerns in the wake of the 2001 Parliament attack shows its vulnerable nature. It is also not quake-proof.
    • Cost Advantage: Many central ministries are housed in different buildings with the result that the government ends up paying rent for many of them. The new building, a new central secretariat will help avoid this.
    • Environmental Benefits: The fact that people and officials have to run around the city to go to different ministries also increases traffic and pollution. The project also proposes interlinking of metro stations which will minimise use of vehicles.
  • Criticism:
    • The Opposition, environmentalists, architects and citizens have raised many concerns even before the pandemic brought in extra issues.
      • They have questioned the lack of studies to ascertain the need for the project and its impact on the environment, traffic and pollution.
    • Several key approvals for the proposed Parliament building have been pushed during the lockdown. This led to allegations of a lack of transparency.
    • They argue that in the situation created by the pandemic, the project must be deferred as the country can’t afford it at this time.

Source: IE

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