Central Vista Avenue 60% Complete, Nothing Happening to Mosques for Now: Centre

Overall, Rs 1,289 crore have been spent for the Central Vista Redevelopment project so far.

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Union Housing and Urban Affairs Ministry told the Lok Sabha on Thursday, 2 December, that the redevelopment of the Central Vista Avenue, stretching from Rashtrapati Bhavan to India Gate, with December 2021 as the deadline, has achieved 60 percent of physical progress so far.

It added, the physical progress of the new Parliament building is at 35 percent and is scheduled to be completed by October next year.

Meanwhile, the central government, told the Delhi High Court on Wednesday, 1 December, that the six religious properties, including five mosques that are over a 100 years old, situated in the Lutyens’ area may not be impacted by the Central Vista Redevelopment Project at this stage, Indian Express reported.

The construction of the projects has continued despite the air pollution in Delhi as the central government tries to meet its deadlines. On Wednesday, the Centre had told the Supreme Court in response to a plea that the new Parliament building and Central Vista are of 'national importance'.

Projects Under Construction:

Estimated to a total cost of Rs 20,000 crore, currently four projects are under construction, including the new Parliament building, redevelopment of the Central Vista Avenue, construction of the three Common Central Secretariat Buildings, and construction of the Vice President Residence.

The Central Vista Avenue includes the newly-developed Rajpath, where the 2022 Republic Day parade is scheduled to take place. Of its total budget of Rs 608 crore, Rs 190.76 crore has been spent on it so far, the Minister of State for Housing and Urban Affairs Kaushal Kishore said in the Lok Sabha in response to a query by Congress MP Manish Tiwari, Indian Express reported.

Meanwhile, for the new Parliament building, Rs 340 crore of Rs 971 crore allotted for it have been spent.

Overall, Rs 1,289 crore have been spent for the Central Vista Redevelopment project so far.

Delhi Waqf Board’s Petition

The Delhi Waqf board in its petition submitted earlier in September, had stated the objective of the case as to ensure that the religious properties, which hold historical importance, are preserved and protected during the redevelopment process.

Seeking time to respond to the Delhi Waqf Board’s petition, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, before the bench of Justice Sanjeev Sachdeva, submitted, “Kindly have it after three weeks. Nothing is happening to these properties. We are before your lordships. It is a very long plan and we have not reached anywhere near it”, Indian Express reported.

Representing the Delhi Waqf board, senior advocate Sanjoy Ghose, requested the court that the oral statement should be recorded.

However, Mehta said, “Statements cannot be recorded to sensationalise… unless he has no faith in me.”

The case has been listed for next hearing on 20 January.

Stating that the court had to be approached as no representations seeking clarifications or assurances from the authorities were responded to, the Delhi Waqf Board was quoted as saying, “The Waqf properties subject matter of the present petition, being places of worship, have great sentimental value and it is necessary for the respondent to clear the doubts with respect to the future of these waqf properties”, Indian Express reported.

Meanwhile, in a bid to meet the deadlines, the government last month also formed a high-level ‘Central Vista oversight committee’ to monitor and expedite the pace of the projects.

(With inputs from The Indian Express.)

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