NEW DELHI: There is no loss of green cover due to the Central Vista Redevelopment Project, the government told Parliament on Monday, saying it will instead enhance the greenery by 5.4 acres in the area for public use.
Responding to a query in Rajya Sabha, Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar said the ministry has issued Terms of Reference (ToR) for preparation of Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Report and Environmental Management Plan (EMP) for Development/Redevelopment of Common Central Secretariat Buildings, Central Conference Centre along with other buildings by the Central Public Works Department.
The minister, however, said that the proposal for grant of environmental clearance in this respect is not yet received.
“The ToR issued to the project, inter-alia, includes assessment of the environmental impact due to development activities within Central Vista Avenue and the preparation of Environmental Management Plan by the project proponent.
“As per project proponent (Central Public Works Department), there is no loss of green cover due to Central Vista Redevelopment Project. However, overall green cover is enhanced by 5.4 acre in Central Vista avenue for public use, Javadekar said in his response.
He said that the Ministry has granted Environment Clearance (EC) for expansion and renovation of Existing Parliament Building by M/s Central Public Works Department, Parliament House at plot number 116 and 118 at Central Vista, New Delhi.
The EC issued to the project, mandates conditions including, inter-alia, compliance to the 2018 Notification of the ministry of environment regarding dust mitigation measures for construction and demolition activities; implementation of plan to contain exceedance in ambient air quality at the site; implementation of Traffic Management Plan, etc.without any tree cutting, he said.
Environment ministry’s expert appraisal committee (EAC) had recommended clearance for the government’s ambitious Central Vista redevelopment project with a direction to the CPWD, who are the developers, to ensure no air pollution is caused during the demolition process.
The decision was taken in a meeting held on December 17, 2020.
With the EAC giving its nod and recommending to grant terms of reference (ToR), the project came a step closer to getting environment clearance (EC), which has to be given by the Union Environment Minister.
The Centre drew sharp criticism for its grandiose plan to redevelop the Central Vista, with environment experts contending that the Rs 13,450 crore project was government’s way of “pampering itself” without considering that the project is going to sacrifice huge green cover and make the air toxic with its construction and demolition dust.
The Supreme Court had in January given its nod to the project in a 2:1 majority verdict while insisting that the clearance of the Heritage Conservation Committee (HCC) will be mandatory and the same should be obtained by the project consultant before proceeding with the development work.
The HCC is headed by Special/Additional Secretary of Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs.
It had also directed that the project developers will have to install smog tower and use anti-smog guns at all construction sites.