NEW DELHI: The 14-member Heritage Conservation Committee (HCC) headed by a top housing and urban affairs ministry official will soon take up the proposal for construction of the new Parliament Building and the Central Vista redevelopment project. The panel has nine government officials and four academicians from School of Planning and Architecture and Delhi University.
“We are ready with the proposal and it will be sent to the committee soon. All norms are being followed strictly. The Supreme Court has said that the approval of the HCC has to be obtained before starting work on the ground. We have maintained since the beginning that no heritage structure will be demolished during the redevelopment of Central Vista,” said an official of the housing and urban affairs ministry.
The apex court, in its order, has directed that the government shall obtain the prior permission from the HCC before actually starting any development or redevelopment work on the plots and the structures governed by the heritage laws.
Environment activist Anil Sood said, “Going by the composition of the HCC, it looks like it will be a cakewalk for the Central government to get the project cleared.” Sood had filed objections to the change of land use by the Delhi development Authority.
According to the government plan, the existing Parliament will be utilised and it will have institutes of parliamentary democracy. “It will be a showcase. The North and South Blocks will become museums. Currently North and South Blocks are closed to the public,” said Union housing and urban affairs minister Hardeep Singh Puri.
Sources said it would take about two years to carry out retrofitting in the existing Parliament. “We have to ensure that the heritage building and even the South and North Blocks sustain threats such as earthquakes. The retrofitting will start once the new Parliament Building becomes functional,” said an official.
On whether the Central hall in the existing parliament will continue to function even after the new one comes up, the official said no decision has been taken yet on this issue. “But currently, since there is no office space for the MPs, they use the Central Hall. In this project, we are creating office space for every MP,” he added.