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Big Boost: SC Upholds Central Vista Re-Development Project

Mumbai: The Supreme Court on Tuesday delivered its ruling on petitions challenging the validity of the Centre’s plan for the redevelopment of the Central Vista area. The top court upheld the Sentra Vista project, including the new parliament building, with some conditions.

The court said that the Centre has done the appropriate paperwork and taken it forward. A three-judge bench of the Supreme Court allowed the project to run with a 2 to 1 majority, allowed the project to go on but with several riders like clearances from Heritage Conservation Committee.

“Exercise of the power under the DDA Act is just and valid. The recommendations of environmental clearance by Ministry of Environment is just, valid and proper and we uphold the same,” a bench of Justices AM Khanwilkar, Dinesh Maheshwari and Sanjiv Khanna said.

The Central Vista Revamp announced in September 2019, envisages a new triangular parliament building, with a seating capacity of 900 to 1,200 MPs, to be built by August 2022 when the country celebrates its 75th Independence Day.

On December 7 last year, the apex court allowed the Centre to proceed with the foundation stone laying ceremony for the Central Vista project on December 10, when the government assured it that no construction or demolition work would commence till the apex court decides the pending pleas on the issue.

“We never thought that you would go so aggressively with construction. The fact that there is no restriction does not mean that you can go ahead with everything,” the apex court bench said

The government argued that only the foundation stone ceremony would take place and there would be no construction, demolition or felling of trees in the area.

The Centre also said that there was no arbitrariness or prejudice in selecting an advisor for the project and the government would have adopted a better process, arguing that the project could not be taken to the ground.

On December 10, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had laid the foundation stone for the new Parliament building, the construction of which is expected to be completed by 2022 at an estimated cost of Rs 971 crore. Gujarat-based architecture firm HCP Designs has won the consultancy bid for the project to redevelop the Central Vista.

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