Opposition leaders slam govt for construction work of Central Vista during Delhi lockdown

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New Delhi, Apr 28 (PTI) Opposition leaders on Wednesday slammed the government for bringing the construction work of its ambitious Central Vista redevelopment project under the ambit of 'essential services' for smooth movement of labourers during the ongoing lockdown amid spiralling cases of coronavirus in Delhi.

Taking a jibe at the government, senior Congress leader Rahul Gandhi tweeted: 'Central Vista- not essential. Central Govt with a vision- essential.' CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury too hit out at the government accusing it of 'circumventing' the lockdown.

'Rejecting universal opinion to scrap ₹ 20K crore project feeding his personal vanity, Modi now circumvents lockdown & classifies this as an 'essential activity' as millions gasp for oxygen to survive. Scrap this project,' Yechury said in a tweet.

The construction work of a new parliament building and the revamp of Rajpath are underway as part of the Central Vista redevelopment work.

On April 19, the Delhi Police had given its nod for the movement of vehicles ferrying workers engaged in the project during lockdown following the request of CPWD --- the executing agency of the ambitious plan.

'We have given permission to the request of the Central Public Works Department (CPWD). The permission has been granted for the onsite work. No movement from the outside is permissible,' a senior police officer told PTI.

According to DDMA's order, construction work has been allowed at those construction sites where workers have been given on-site accommodation.

An official at the Central Public Works Department (CPWD) said: 'We are continuing the work to the extent possible with the labour available at site.' TMC national spokesperson and Rajya Sabha member Derek O'Brien took a dig at Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah over the project.

'Why are we in the Opposition criticising the Central Vista project? It is a very, very important project! Modi must have a peacock garden built next to his new office and Shah must have a verandah next to his office for his three pet poodles ( also known as the EC).

'This is why the central Vista project is needed. We, the silly opposition, want the Rs 20,000 crores being spent for central Vista to be used instead to vaccinate 80 per cent of the people of India. Priorities?' O'Brien told PTI.

Delhi logged a record 381 COVID-19 deaths on Tuesday, while the positivity rate stood at 32.72 per cent.

The redevelopment project of Central Vista -- the nation's power corridor -- also envisages a new triangular Parliament building, a common central secretariat and revamping of the three-km-long Rajpath, from Rashtrapati Bhavan to India Gate.

Congress leader Digvijaya Singh also slammed the government for continuing with the construction work even during lockdown.

'They are heartless ruthless pair of Twins. They are not releasing our MP LAD fund through which we can extend help in our Constituencies. Central Vista and new Parliament building could have waited but Modi ji give more funds to fight COVID, release our MPLAD fund,' Singh said on Twitter.

Last year, the CPWD had revised the estimated cost from Rs 11,794 crore to Rs 13,450 crore.

According to the CPWD's proposal, the prime minister's new residence will be built on a 15-acre plot and it will have 10 buildings and they will have ground plus three floors. PTI ASG NIT BUN ZMN