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Vista, secretariat approach Environment ministry for redevelopment approvals

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Vista, secretariat approach Environment ministry for redevelopment approvals 2

New Delhi: While the new Parliament complex got environmental clearance in April this year and is getting ready for construction, an even larger project –– the redevelopment of the Central Vista and the Central Secretariat building –– has now reached the Environment ministry for the first round of approvals.

The ‘Development/Redevelopment of Common Central Secretariat Buildings and Central Conference Centre’ across 17,54,057 sqm was taken up by the Expert Appraisal Committee of the Union Ministry of Environment & Forests and Climate Change, at its 56th meeting on October 21, amid strong views raised on the impact of this large-scale project.

While it is not yet final, ET gathers that the stage is set for the issuance of Terms of Reference for the project. The first round of approvals, once a project reaches the EAC, is that of seeking Terms of Reference (ToR) necessary for projects seeking environmental clearance (EC) under the provisions of the Environment Impact Assessment Notification, 2006.

Once ToR is issued for the Central Vista redevelopment, the Central Public Works Development (CPWD) will draw up their Environment Impact Assessment and Environment Management Plan reports and submit it to the EAC for approval –– a process that can take a few months to a year.

The final environment clearance is given after EIA and EMP pass muster with EAC and that sets the stage for the project to take off. With construction plans for the Vista redevelopment already prepared, this may move faster than most other projects at the EAC and allow both the Parliament complex and the redeveloped Central Vista to come up almost simultaneously by 2022 as envisaged by the government.

It is learnt that EAC meeting saw strong views expressed over the ‘heritage’ character of the area and the adverse impact this massive construction project would have on the ‘green lung’ of the city which is already reeling under heavy air pollution.

The EAC is learnt to have received several representations and public views on the subject. The CPWD, which is the project proponent for this project, is learnt to have assured that all precautions will be taken to reduce the dust generated, all trees at the site will be transplanted and compensatory afforestation done.

When questioned over the need for such a largescale construction exercise, the agency cited the urgent need to bring in a consolidated and integrated complex that is truly a ‘Central Secretariat’.

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