Green Panel Clears Central Vista Projects

    0
    191

    In News

    Recently, the Ministry of Environment cleared ancillary projects under the Central Vista, including a new residence for the Prime Minister.

    Key Points

    • The environmental clearance for the new Parliament building has already been accorded earlier this year.
    • The Prime Minister’s residence is scheduled to be readied by December 2022, a month after the construction of a new Parliament Building.
      • The rest of the many buildings are expected to be ready from 2024-2026.

    Central Vista Redevelopment Project

    • The project aims for an integrated administration block and synergised functioning of ministries presently spread across 47 buildings in the region, and in particular, the Central Secretariat block.
    • It seeks to build a new Parliament house, a new residential complex, which would house the Prime Minister and the Vice President besides several new office buildings including the North and South Block buildings.
    • It will cover a 3-km stretch from Rashtrapati Bhavan to India Gate in Lutyens’ Delhi.
      • The Parliament House, the Rashtrapati Bhavan and the secretariat that includes both north and south block were designed by Edwin Lutyens and Herbert Baker.

    Image Courtesy: ilearnCana

    New Parliament

    • It will be three times bigger than the existing 93-year-old heritage building.
    • It is likely to have a triangular shape with a built-up area of 65,000 sq.m. and is scheduled to be completed in 2022, in time for the 75th Independence Day celebrations and the Global G-20 summit.

    Significance 

    • The present Parliament building is 85-year-old and suffers from inadequacy of space to house members and their staff.
    • It suffers from structural issues and the building needs to be protected because of its heritage, it is a major attraction for the tourists who visit the country.
    • The new Parliament building will have high-quality acoustics and audio-visual facilities, improved and comfortable seating arrangements, effective and inclusive emergency evacuation provisions, with high-level security for the members.
    • Central Vista is an essential ingredient of sovereignty and pride, and also where recreational spaces are available for enjoyment by the citizens. 

    Major Concerns Highlighted 

    • Lack of transparency: In the ‘re-development of the Central Vista, the entire matter has been formed in secrecy and opacity.
      • Several key approvals for the proposed Parliament building have been pushed during the lockdown which led to allegations of a lack of transparency.
    • Environment clearance: Many opposition and environmentalists point out concerns related to the lack of studies to ascertain the need for the project and its impact on the environment, traffic and pollution.
    • Financial burden: The ambitious project, costing Rs 20,000 crore and  It came when the country is battling the COVID-19 pandemic and is staring at a serious economic crisis.
      • The failure of the public health facilities to cope with the increasing number of corona cases has highlighted the limitations of investing in infrastructure projects at the cost of the health sector

    SC’s Stand

    • The government did not act against the public trust: The Court cannot order the government to hold back from spending money on one project and use it for something else and also clarified that the government did not act against the public trust.
    • The project did not involve any “radical” change in land use: The majority opinion (two judges out of a three-judge bench) held the project did not involve any “radical” change in land use and the proposed change in the landscape would not limit “recreational spaces” for the public.
      • The majority view held the Centre’s exercise of power to change the land use under Section 11A(2) of the Delhi Development Authority Act 1957 was “just and proper” and the environment clearance was valid.
      • The proposed changes fully work with the vision of the Master Plan including the Zonal Plan and the Section 11A(1) of the Delhi Development Authority Act 1957 empowers the Authority to make modifications in the master plan or the zonal plan.
      • The court, however, took note of the concerns raised that the new Parliament is proposed to be built in a vacant space adjacent to the existing Parliament House.
        • It said the HCC was free to consider the proposal in accordance with the law.
    • Right to development is a basic human right: The right to development is a basic human right and no organ of the state is expected to become an impediment in the process of development as long as the government proceeds in accordance with the law.
    • The SC held that the government should obtain “prior permission” of the designated Authority, before the actual development/redevelopment work, if it has not already obtained it.

    Source: TH