By LE Desk

New Delhi, May 5: The Supreme Court today said it will decide the date of hearing a petition which seeks suspension of the construction work on the ambitious Central Vista project at a time the country is grappling with the deadly second wave of Covid which has killed thousands and crippled the healthcare system. 

The opposition and activists have been hitting out hard at the government for persisting with this project despite the pandemic.

Senior advocate Sidharth Luthra, who represents two petitioners, had requested the Chief Justice of India to take up the plea after the Delhi High Court deferred the hearing of the request till May 17, NDTV reported.

Citing non-availability of judges at the moment, Chief Justice NV Ramana said, “…if a bench is available, let me see”.

The petitioners said they are concerned about the work going on along central Delhi’s Rajpath and around India Gate and not the construction of a new parliament building.

The construction of the ₹ 20,000 crore project in the heart of the national capital has been brought under the ambit of “essential services”, angering the opposition.

In Delhi, which is under a lockdown, construction work is permitted at construction sites where workers have been given on-site accommodation. But when NDTV did a spot check at the location last week, not many were found camping at the construction site. Most of the workers were found coming from a part of Delhi 16 kilometres away.

The grand makeover plan also recently received an environmental clearance, paving the way for a new home for the Prime Minister to be built by December 2022. The Vice President’s house is expected to be completed by May next year.

This redevelopment project envisages a new triangular parliament building, a common central secretariat and revamping of the three-kilometre-long Rajpath from Rashtrapati Bhavan to India Gate.

Sources said the government is determined that preparations for India’s 75th Independence Day must continue.

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