So what is this Central Vista Project all about?

With a whopping budget of Rs. 20,000 crore, Central Vista is a redevelopment project that is set to create Indian capital’s power corridor of  3 KM which will stretch from Rashtrapati Bhavan to India Gate. 

What does the Central Vista Project include?

The redevelopment project which is set to create a new benchmark on urban planning and India’s innovative architecture includes significant constructions that includes the new Parliament building, the National Archives and Secretariat buildings.

The seemingly state of the art project also includes relocating the residence of the Prime Minister to the North Block, where currently the PMO(Prime Minister’s Office) is situated. On the other hand the Vice President’s residence is scheduled to be demolished and his new residence will be situated closer to the North Block. To give Indian citizens a taste of heritage and history, the North and South Blocks that are situated on either side of the Rashtrapati Bhavan will be converted into museums. 

One of the most prominent structures of the Central Vista redevelopment project will be an all new Indian Parliament building. Spread over 64,000 feet, the new Parliament will be larger, shiner and more modern than the former. It will be able to seat 888 Members of Parliament in the Lok Sabha chamber and Rajya Sabha chamber will be able to hold 384 members of the Parliament. 

That sounds huge! When is it set to complete?

Central Vista Project is expected to find its completion by 2024, right around the next General Elections that will be taking place.

But why has the supreme court halted it before it has even begun?

There have also been 10 petitions challenging the mega-development project and before the pleas could’ve been dismissed or acted upon, the government issued a press release announcing that the construction was to start and the relocation of the trees was underway.

Critical of the government’s move, the Supreme court bench told the solicitor Tushar Mehta, “You can lay the foundation stone, you can carry on paperwork but no construction or demolition, no cutting down any trees,”

Mehta has accepted the court’s ruling and made a statement saying there will be no construction or felling of trees, only the foundation stone shall be laid.

Climate activists are condemning this project because there hasn’t been any environment audit done. A minimum of 1000 trees will be cut down and 80 acres of land will be redeveloped. There has been no plan of action given on how the green cover on this land will be restored.

If we talk about this from an economic standpoint, we can easily deduce that the estimated cost of the project, which is Rs 20,000 crore, is 1% of the COVID-19 relief package and 0.1% of the nation’s entire GDP. As India deals with a pandemic, stating that the project is untimely is an understatement. Central Vista Project could be easily seen as a wasteful expense of the taxpayer’s money by the masses during as distressing a time as this.

These legal roadblocks could dismantle a project even if it is as big as this, and under public scrutiny, more legal pleas could come under the Supreme Court’s eye and further hobble the project.