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Delhi arts body seeks more details on new parliament project

A view of the Parliament House and Central Vista in New Delhi. File   | Photo Credit: V. Sudershan

The Centre’s proposal to construct a new Parliament building in time for Independence Day 2022 was not approved by the Delhi Urban Art Commission (DUAC) at a meeting earlier this month, according to sources involved with the approval process.

The project, which was cleared by an expert appraisal committee of the Ministry of Environment and Forests and the Central Vista Committee in April, was brought before the DUAC on June 5, where it was examined but approval was not granted and it was sent back with comments, sources said. The project’s proponent, the Central Public Works Department, was asked for additional details, the sources said.

In a written response to The Hindu on Monday, HCP Design, Planning and Management, the CPWD’s consultant for the larger Central Vista redevelopment project that includes the construction of a new Parliament, said the project had been presented before the DUAC.

Formed by an Act of Parliament in 1973, the DUAC is meant to advise the Centre on matters of preservation, development and maintenance of the aesthetic quality of the Capital's urban and environmental design.

“The approval process is ongoing as the DUAC has requested for some additional data to complete the application. At present, the DUAC has requested additional details on provisions for landscape, parking, day-lighting and ventilation. Information on the same is being collated and will be submitted to DUAC,” the HCP statement said.

 

When asked whether the project was still on schedule, HCP said: “There is no impact on the timelines.”

Though the project was considered over 15 days ago, the minutes of the meeting are yet to be uploaded on the DUAC website, which as on Monday evening only showed minutes of meetings that took place till May 29. Minutes of at least two meetings since then, including the one discussing the Parliament project, have not been uploaded yet, unlike the usual practice. Multiple calls and messages to DUAC secretary Ruby Kaushal on Monday on reasons for the delay were not answered.

Sources in the DUAC also said the offices had been shut last week as an employee had tested positive for COVID-19. The office was reopened on Monday after being sanitised.

The proposal of the CPWD, which operates under the Union Housing and Urban Affairs Ministry, is to construct a triangular Parliament building in the 10.5-acre plot adjacent to the existing heritage structure built in the 1920s. The project is estimated to cost ₹922 crore, according to the CPWD's application for environmental clearance.

While the new Parliament building is the first of the Central Vista revamp projects to get underway, the CPWD has proposed constructing 10 new office buildings for all Ministries along the Central Vista by 2024, new residences for the Prime Minister and Vice-President near South and North Block and a Prime Minister's Office. The Parliament building as well North and South Blocks are proposed to be re-purposed as museums.

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Printable version | Feb 28, 2021 4:18:42 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/delhi-arts-body-seeks-more-details-on-new-parliament-project/article31891552.ece

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