Modi’s US$1.8 billion project under scrutiny

By Andy Brown10 May 2021

What the new Central Vista project could look like. Photo: HCP Designs

As India continues to battle against growing numbers of people infected with Covid-19, Prime Minster Narendra Modi’s US$1.8 billion Central Vista Project is coming under increased scrutiny as the project has been deemed ‘essential’ and work on it is continuing.

The Central Vista scheme, first announced in September 2019, includes a new parliament building and expansive residential complexes for the prime minister and deputy prime minister across 15 acres of land. It will also modernise a 3km stretch of New Delhi’s central boulevard.

Opponents say that the project is a ‘super spreader’ of Covid-19 due to the number of workers on the project, and that resources should be focused on saving lives.

At the time of writing, coronavirus infections and deaths in India remained extremely high,  with the latest figures from the health ministry showing 366,161 new infections and 3,754 deaths. India’s total figure is now approximately 22.66 million people infected with 246,116 deaths, with many hospitals running out of oxygen and beds.

“How is construction work an essential activity? In a health emergency, we cannot risk the lives of workers and their families and put more pressure on health care system,” said senior advocate Siddharth Luthra, according to reports in The Times of India.

Even before Covid-19, the project was controversial, with opponents calling it overly expensive and a threat to cultural heritage.

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