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Opinion

Government denies CPWD’s request for adjustments in the Central Vista project

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The Union’s environment ministry’s expert evaluation committee (EAC) on infrastructure projects has rejected a request from the Central Department of Public Works (CPWD) to amend the terms of reference for the remodeling of the ministry’s common buildings Central as part of the Vista Central Remodeling Project. The request was made one day after the Ministry of the Environment approved the previous terms of reference.

In the minutes of its Nov. 25 meeting, posted Monday on the ministry’s Parivesh website, the EAC said CPWD should “refrain from the piecemeal approach to proposed development and redevelopment.”

CPWD and its consulting firm Kadam Environmental Consultants Limited agreed to withdraw the proposal in its current format, according to the minutes. “EAC (Infra-2) decided to return the original proposal and asked the project proponent to apply again while adopting an integrated approach to the proposed development / redevelopment,” the minutes added.

CPWD had presented a conceptual plan to remodel the common buildings of the central secretariat and the central conference center along with the Prime Minister’s office and residence, a Special Protection Group (SPG) building and the vice president’s enclave, all part from the Central View. Redevelopment project: to the ministry of the environment for environmental cleanup.

All of these buildings were not part of the initial plan submitted by CPWD to the Environment Ministry, official documents suggest. The original plan presented included only the common central secretariat and the central conference center.

The request angered citizen groups, who were upset by the gradual approach taken to implement the Vista Central project.

CPWD had received environmental clearance for only one project as part of the Central Vista redevelopment: a parliament building. The authorization granted for that project is being challenged in the Supreme Court.

CPWD classified the central secretariat and other buildings in question as a separate development (although they are part of the overall Central Vista project) for which no authorization has been granted. The first step is to request the terms of reference, which are approved by the EAC after an EIA is performed. Based on the EIA, the EAC decides to approve or reject a project. This stage has not yet been reached in the case of the central secretariat project.

A member of the EAC said, on condition of anonymity: “Although the parliament building was approved separately, we do not want to consider other parts of the same project in isolation. They have been asked to submit a consolidated proposal for all other projects related to the Central Vista remodel. “

The request to modify the terms of reference, available on the Parivesh website and seen by HT, suggests that the Prime Minister’s office, the Prime Minister’s residence, the Vice President’s enclave and the Special Protection Group building were added to the proposal.

This led to an increase in built area from 1,754,057.35 square meters to 1,837,057.35 square meters and an increase in sewage generation, municipal waste generation and investment cost of Rs 11,038 million. to 11,794 crore.

Approval of the terms of reference is the initial authorization required for any development project. Several citizens wrote to the president of the EAC, T Haque, to reject the request on the grounds that it is only one part of the larger Central Vista Redevelopment Project, which was being carried out in a piecemeal manner, leading to a inadequate assessment of its environmental impact. .

“Project proponents have been taking advantage of laws and regulations by calling this ‘an evolving project.’ Many new components of this project have come to light only due to public questioning. The EAC, at least, has promoted an integrated environmental assessment. Who will request a full assessment of costs and feasibility? So far, the government has not disclosed any of this, ”said Manju Menon, principal investigator of the think tank at the Center for Policy Research.

Haque did not respond to HT’s inquiries regarding the return of CPWD’s request to amend the terms of reference.

CPWD did not respond to HT’s inquiries on whether the department will implement a consolidated plan for the Vista Central Redevelopment Project.

Hindustan Times

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