Reacting to the Supreme Court’s approval to the Central Vista redevelopment project by a 2:1 majority verdict on Tuesday, urban planning experts and activists said there were many problems with the Centre’s plan.
While the court held that the government and its agencies fulfilled all legal requirements in altering the land use of the seven plots in the area and in obtaining the environmental clearances for constructing the new Parliament building, critics maintained the project was ill-conceived even as they flagged green concerns.
Petitioners who challenged the project said the decision on whether to file a review petition will be taken after going through the 611-page judgment. “We are not against the government constructing a new Parliament building. But public land meant for recreational use can’t be used for it. There are a lot of infirmities in the clearance granted to the project,” said Rajeev Suri, one of the petitioners.
Experts said the Central Public Works Department cannot start the work at the new site till it obtains clearance from the Heritage Conservation Committee, Ministry of Housing and Urban affairs, which is responsible for protection of heritage buildings in Delhi. “The judgment is significant for multiple reasons. Even though it upholds the government’s view that there was no infirmity in the processes related to land-use change, approvals related to the new Parliament’s environment clearance and other approvals, it clearly indicates that no construction can take place even on the new Parliament site before the approval of the Heritage Conservation Committee,” Kanchi Kohli, a researcher with the Centre for Policy Research, said.
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