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Tuesday, August 03, 2021

Central Vista project: Call for discussion in House panel turned down, Opp plans to go to Speaker

It is learnt that Jagdambika Pal, chairman of the Standing Committee on Urban Development, turned down Singh’s demand, pointing out that details of the project are already in the public domain.

Written by Liz Mathew | New Delhi |
Updated: June 25, 2021 7:30:15 am
Panel chairman objects, says all details about project public. (Express photo by Renuka Puri)

Taking the stand that the parliamentary panel on urban development cannot be kept in the dark on details of the Central Vista project, senior Congress leader Digvijaya Singh was said to have sought a discussion Thursday on the project already underway in the heart of the Capital.

It is learnt that Jagdambika Pal, chairman of the Standing Committee on Urban Development, turned down Singh’s demand, pointing out that details of the project are already in the public domain.

Following the meeting, Opposition members are contemplating approaching Speaker Om Birla to let the committee take up the matter.

It is learnt that the ruling party members of the panel objected to any discussion on the project, but Opposition members pointed out that the CPWD, which undertakes the Central Vista development works, comes under the Ministry they are dealing with.

According to the Lok Sabha website, the committee was scheduled to take up Thursday ‘Evidence of the representatives of: (i) Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs; and (ii) Ministry of Finance — Department of Financial Services, on the subject, Implementation of Street Vendors (Protection of Livelihood and Regulation of Street Vending) Act, 2014 with special emphasis on PM SVANidhi Scheme’.

Opposition MPs claimed that many street vendors have been displaced from the area in and around India Gate where construction works are underway.

Singh wanted the panel to especially discuss the ethical and financial parts of the project and the buildings to be demolished.

But the committee chairman, it is learnt, reminded Singh that the project had been given the go-ahead by the courts, and that the General Purpose Committee, chaired by the Speaker with members from every party, was consulted on every aspect of construction of the new Parliament building.

BJP’s Sushil Modi and P C Mohan were among those who backed the chairman. Singh later suggested that members could approach the Speaker to get clearance.

The Central Vista revamp, announced in September 2019, envisages, among others, a new triangular Parliament House with seating capacity for 900 to 1,200 MPs. It is to be constructed by August 2022 when the country will celebrate its 75th Independence Day. The project also includes construction of a common Central Secretariat, revamp of the 3-km Rajpath from Rashtrapati Bhavan to India Gate, a new residence and office for the Prime Minister, and a new Vice President Enclave.

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