A new Prime Minister’s residence is to be built by December 2022 as part of the Central Vista project which has received an environmental all-clear in the middle of a raging pandemic where most activities have been restricted.
The Central Vista project, which has been designated an “essential service” so that work is unstopped during the virus lockdown, has moved to the next step after the government’s green clearance.
Despite strong objections by opposition parties and activists, the government is determined to move forward on the makeover plan under a strict time line.
Among the first buildings to be constructed by December next year is the Prime Minister’s residence. The headquarters of the Special Protection Group for the PM’s security and an executive enclave for bureaucrats will also be constructed by the same deadline.
The PM’s official address currently is 7, Lok Kalyan Marg (previously Race Course Road).
The Vice President’s house is expected to be completed by May next year.
The projected cost for the new buildings is Rs 13,450 crores and the plan is expected to employ nearly 46,000 people.
Opposition parties have long slammed the plan to reconstruct one of the most historic parts of Delhi to build a new parliament building, government offices and PM’s residence. On social media too, many have hit out at the expense in the middle of a Covid emergency that has overwhelmed hospitals and caused a crisis of resources like oxygen, vaccines, medicines and beds.
The plan to build and refurbish the government buildings on a part of the four-km stretch from Rashtrapati Bhavan to the India Gate is to be completed before the 2024 general elections.
“Central Vista- not essential. Central Govt with a vision- essential,” tweeted Congress leader Rahul Gandhi last week.
The government has defended the project saying the current buildings are in a state of disrepair.
The Supreme Court refused to stop the project saying it didn’t violate environmental or land-use norms. But one of the three judges was concerned over the lack of public consultation.