NEW DELHI: At a time the country is staring at an economic crisis in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Centre apparently has no plans to put the brakes on the project. In fact, it has raised the cost of the new parliament building from Rs 776 crore to Rs 922 crore, as per the revised proposal sent to the environment ministry for clearance. The ministry’s expert appraisal committee (EAC) on infra projects is scheduled to take up the 65,000-sqm-area project for according environment clearance on April 22.
Construction of a new parliament building is part of the ambitious Central Vista redevelopment plan of the NDA government. The revised proposal says the project cost has gone up “due to changes in project specifications which have been approved after submission of application”. Earlier, EAC had deferred the proposal on February 25 seeking details regarding scope of renovation of the existing parliament building, status of case(s) pending in courts or tribunals related to the project, traffic management plan, response to the representations received against the project and updated Master Plan of Delhi showing land-use of plot no.118 (construction site).
In February meeting, the EAC said a large number of representations had been received by the ministry raising concerns that the project completely disregards the historical, cultural and social importance of the existing parliament. Several opposition leaders have slammed the `20,000-crore venture as a vanity project. Congress president Sonia Gandhi had recently written to PM Narendra Modi suggesting, among other measures to fight the coronavirus crisis, suspension of the Central Vista project.