In recent weeks the principal opposition party of India, Indian National Congress under the leadership of Italian Born Sonia Gandhi aka Antonio Maino have raised serious reservations against the construction of new parliament building. Congress leader Rahul Gandhi described the project as waste of money during the time of pandemic and called for funds allocated for the project could be used in the their health care.
The Central Vista in New Delhi is mammoth condominium of huge state buildings which will comprise of Presidential Residence Rashtrapati Bhawan, the North & South Blocks, the Indian Parliament, Ministerial Complexes, Secretariat buildings, National Museums & National Stadium. The New Parliament house in the proposed project will be able to accommodate 888 members of Lok Sabha (Lower House) & 384 Rajya Sabha (Upper House) members. The architectural marvel will serve as new identity for being the temple of World largest democracy in the world. The Bhoomi Puja of the project was done by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on December 10, 2020.
The need for revamping the project was necessitated after repeated demand from law makers including former Union Minister Jairam Ramesh of Congress Party remarked in 2012.
“We badly need a new parliament building. This one simply isn’t functional and is outdated”.
The existing parliament building was completed in 1927. And with time the number of parliamentary activities have increased besides the number of people working & visiting have increased substantially. At present there is shortfall of 3.8 Lakh sq m of office space and in the proposed project Ministries will get new block. At present the Ministries are spread over 47 buildings and in the revamped project it will be brought under one Unified complex.
With the Delimitation Commission of India entrusted to redraw the boundaries of the various assembly and Lok Sabha constituencies based on 2021 census, the number of Lok Sabha Seats & Rajya Sabha Seats are likely to go up. The present structure does not have place for any additional member. The existing Parliament building would be structurally rehabilitated and renovated and would be used later for other activities.
In light of above facts, we can see the Congress party is making baseless allegations against the Narendra Modi government. A batch of 10 petitions were filed in Supreme Court to stop the work. The Apex court has given green signal to the project and found objections raised by the petitioners baseless. The courts found that environmental clearance is proper accordance to law & there are no faults with the change in land use. The court was also satisfied with the assurances given by government to preserve the environment & heritage including urban aesthetics. The Government also informed the apex court that Centre will save Rs.1000 crore in annual rent for spaces leased out by Ministries at present. The existing structure is ill equipped to meet fire safety norms with annually Rs.50 crores are being spent on regular upgradations.
It should be noted that Central Government has already allocated Rs 2,23,846 crore for health in 2021-2022 and that is increase of 137 percent from the previous year. In the Union Budget provision of Rs.35000 crore was made for Wuhan Chinese Virus. To increase vaccination production the government approved Rs.4500 crore to Serum Institute of India and Bharat Biotech. And as on date May 9th, 2021 the government has vaccinated 170 million citizens and India is fastest nation to administer over 100 million doses Of Wuhan Chinese Virus Vaccine In 85 Days.
The Central Vista Project will generate thousands of employment opportunities and as on date only Rs.1000 crore has been sanctioned out of estimated cost of Rs.20,000 crore. The 64,500 square meters revamped power corridor is expected to be completed before 2024 & the new parliament building will be completed by August 2022 marking the 75th year of Independence.
Joining the chorus of protest Congress ally in Maharashtra Shiv Sena slammed the Modi government of going aggressive to complete the project within the stipulated time without bothering about its proposed Rs 900cr MLA hostel redevelopment proposal. It should be noted that the Narendra Modi government is utilizing public space to increase the efficiency of the system.
In these times of pandemic it does not behove opposition parties to raise frivolous allegations against the Central Government. In times of emergency the priority should be to stand with the Government and fight the Oxygen & bed shortage faced by citizens. Health care being state subject and epidemic coming under the ambit of central government, it calls for collective effort of both Centre & States to keep politics in abeyance for the time being. It is shame for elected state governments being hauled by respective high courts in Delhi, Allahabad, Patna, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, Nagpur, Aurangabad, Mumbai, Bangalore & Chennai for lapses & failures in administering timely relief measures. And raising the issue of Central Vista is diversionary tactics by Congress to cover up its failure for the electoral defeat in recently concluded state assembly elections.