New Parliament Project Goes Ahead with 'Essential Service' Tag as National Healthcare Collapses under COVID Strain
By: Aashruti Vohra
As the healthcare system around the country crumbles under the burden of the rising number of COVID cases, the Central Vista Project has been declared an ‘essential service’ and allowed to continue construction. In the past week, Delhi recorded the deaths of more than 10,000 COVID-19 patients due to the oxygen shortage and unavailability of hospital beds.
The CPWD (Central Public Works Department) is executing this project. Construction was initiated on January 5 with the blessings of the Supreme Court. The redevelopment project of the Central Vista — the nation’s power corridor — is anticipated to include a new triangular Parliament building, a common central secretariat and rehabilitating the 3km long Rajpath, from Rashtrapati Bhavan to the India Gate.
As of now, the revitalisation work continues even as the capital state is shut down for another week. As per the Delhi government’s COVID curfew guidelines, construction projects that have workers staying on the site are not permitted to operate. However, an exception has been made for the Central Vista project, which has been declared an “essential service”, following requests by the CPWD.
On April 19, Delhi announced a lockdown for a week. The Deputy Commissioner of Police for the New Delhi district issued movement passes for 180 vehicles engaged in the project work to operate during the lockdown. The DC’s letter also mentioned that the movement passes had been mentioned under the “essential services” category.
The Central Vista Project had been criticised from its very first day. The SC in December had heard multiple petitions against the project regarding the violation of environmental norms and destruction of heritage structures.
“Looking to the country, striving with the serious pandemic, the amount the government is spending on the Central Vista project would have been more than enough to build thousands of oxygen generation plants,” Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said while questioning the BJP government’s government’s priority in going ahead with the project in the midst of the ongoing pandemic.
As per the recent reports, the national capital’s death toll stood at 381 on Tuesday, the highest single-day rise in its COVID-19 death toll. This is the sixth consecutive day on which Delhi has recorded over 300 deaths due to coronavirus.
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