Over Rs 1,289 crore have been spent on the Central Vista Redevelopment project so far, the Centre told Lok Sabha on Thursday.

In reply to a question, Minister of State for Housing and Urban Affairs Kaushal Kishore said that only four projects under the masterplan were currently being implemented. These are construction of new Parliament building, three common Central Secretariat buildings, the vice president’s residence and the redevelopment of the Central Vista Avenue.

Data shared by Kishore showed that the construction of Parliament building is 35% complete and is estimated to be over by October next year. It showed that Rs 340.58 crore have been spent so far out of the estimated cost of Rs 971 crore for the building.

The redevelopment of the Central Vista Avenue is 60% over and is likely to be completed by December. The government has spent Rs 190.76 crore of the estimated Rs 608 crore for this.

Resources have been mobilised and the sites were being prepared for the construction of Central Secretariat buildings and the vice president’s residence. While the Central Secretariat buildings were likely to completed by November 2023, the construction of the vice president’s residence is likely be over by November 2022, the data showed.

(Lok Sabha website)

Congress MP Manish Tiwari, who asked the questions, also sought to know if the project resumed during the coronavirus pandemic while the MP Local Area Development Scheme, or MPLADS, was suspended. The scheme provides funds to MPs to take up development work in their constituencies.

To this, Kishore said that there was no link between the Central Vista Project and MPLADS.

“Separately, the Union Cabinet, in its meeting held on November 10, 2021, has restored MPLAD Scheme for the remaining part of the Financial Year (FY) 2021-’22 and its continuation from FY [financial year] 2022-’23 to FY 2025-’26 with an outlay of Rs 17,417 crore,” he added.

Opposition parties had objected to the Centre’s decision to suspend the MPLADS funds in September last year.

“The Central Vista project must be cancelled, and more ventilators must be brought for the common man in this nation,” Nationalist Congress Party MP Supriya Sule had said. “Why is the government not reducing its expenditure to make sure that the costs come down?”

Minister Kishore on Thursday claimed that the Central Vista Project has helped provide direct livelihood to more than 10,000 workers and generated over 24.12 lakh man days of employment.

“In addition, substantial employment in manufacturing and transportation of cement, steel and other building materials have been provided,” Kishore said. “These works of development/ re-development of Central Vista will contribute to the economy of the country and will help realize our resolve for Aatmanirbhar Bharat [self-reliant India].”

The minister also informed the quality-cum-cost based method of bidding was not adopted for the construction of the buildings.

“The [quality-cum-cost based method] method has been adopted only for the engagement of consultants for comprehensive architecture and engineering planning for development/redevelopment of the Central Vista,” he added.

The Central Vista project costs Rs 20,000 crore and will redevelop a stretch at the heart of Lutyens Delhi.

It has been described by the Opposition as a vanity project of the Bharatiya Janata Party and has also been challenged in courts.

In May, a petition had been filed in the Delhi High Court, saying that the project was not an essential activity and could be put on hold amid the coronavirus pandemic. But the High Court had dismissed the plea. The Delhi High Court had held that the project was of national importance.

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