Supreme Court gives nod to Central vista redevelopment project

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January 6, 2021 1:45 AM

The Supreme Court on Tuesday gave nod to the proposed multi-crore Central Vista redevelopment project that covers a three-km stretch from the Rashtrapati Bhavan to India Gate in the heart of the capital.

The construction is expected to be completed by 2022 at an estimated cost of around Rs 1,000 crore.

The Supreme Court on Tuesday gave nod to the proposed multi-crore Central Vista redevelopment project that covers a three-km stretch from the Rashtrapati Bhavan to India Gate in the heart of the capital. A three-judge Bench in a majority 2:1 judgement by justices A.M. Khanwilkar and Dinesh Maheshwari did not find any infirmity in the grant of approval by the Central Vista Committee or the Heritage Conservation Committee. It said the change in land use under the Delhi Development Authority Act in the restricted zone was just and proper, thus the modifications regarding the change in land use in the Master Plan of Delhi stands confirmed.

It also upheld the recommendation of Environmental Clearance by Expert Appraisal Committee and by MoEF, terming it to be “just, proper and in accordance with law including the 2006 Notification.” Justice Khanwilkar, writing the majority opinion, said smog towers and guns towers should be installed at the construction site. It also directed the Environment Ministry to order the setting up of the facilities for future projects in cities with bad air quality.

However, Justice Sanjeev Khanna while agreeing with the majority judgment on the aspect of notice inviting bids for the project said that the land-use change for the project was vitiated and bad in law. He also pointed out that no prior approval was taken from the Heritage Conservation Committee. “The Central Government/Authority would put on public domain on the web, intelligible and adequate information along with drawings, layout plans, with explanatory memorandum etc. within seven days,” Justice Khanna said.

On December 7, the Supreme Court had allowed the government to lay the foundation stone for the new Parliament building as scheduled on December 10 after the government gave an undertaking to keep in abeyance the construction or demolition of buildings and shifting of trees in the Central Vista area till further orders from the apex court.

The court had then expressed displeasure with the Centre for “aggressively” continuing with the construction, demolition and shifting of trees for the proposed project in the heart of the national capital. The revamp, which was announced in September last year, envisages a new triangular Parliament building, with seating capacity for 900 to 1,200 MPs, that is targeted to be constructed by August 2022 when the country will be celebrating its 75th Independence Day. The government plans to conserve the existing Parliament building, claiming it to be an archaeological asset of the country. The construction is expected to be completed by 2022 at an estimated cost of around Rs 1,000 crore.

A batch of 10 petitions was filed against how the Central Vista project involving renovation and redevelopment of approximately 86-acre of land in the heart of Lutyens Delhi, marked by structures like the Parliament, Rashtrapati Bhavan, India Gate, North Block and South Block amongst other, got various clearances. The petitions also claimed that the project had been planned by destroying heritage buildings and giving unified building bye-laws a go by.

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