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Cost of proposed new Parliament building sees 18% rise — to Rs 922 cr from Rs 776 cr




A view of Delhi's Central Vista
A view of Delhi’s Central Vista | Twitter | @HardeepSPuri

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New Delhi: The ambitious proposal to build a new Parliament building has seen an 18.8 per cent cost escalation — to Rs 922 crore from Rs 776 crore — at a time when the Modi government is trying to shore up its finances to contain the raging Covid-19 outbreak, ThePrint has learnt.

The proposed new Parliament building will come up on the same premises that houses the old one and is part of the Rs 20,000-crore Central Vista redevelopment project, which is currently awaiting environmental clearance.

A source familiar with the matter told ThePrint the cost has gone up because of additional infrastructure requirements and an increase in size of various facilities that are part of the project.

“It is nothing extraordinary. For instance, the size of the office rooms and the committee rooms in the new Parliament building has gone up from the original design,” the source added.

Similarly, the air conditioning of the old Parliament building has to be upgraded and that cost has also been added to the project. 

“The escalation from Rs 776 crore to Rs 922 crore is the consolidated requirement,” the source said.

The government has set a 2022 deadline to complete the new Parliament building, which will be triangular in shape.

The Central Public Works Department (CPWD), the government’s construction wing under the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, which is implementing the project, has submitted the revised cost for the expansion and renovation of existing Parliament building to the environment ministry last month.

The submission came after the ministry’s Environment Appraisal Committee (EAC) sought details of the project from the CPWD.

In its reply, accessed by ThePrint, to the EAC, dated 12 March, the CPWD said the project cost of Rs 922 crore instead of Rs 776 crore has happened “due to changes in project specifications, which have been approved after the application submission”.

Also read: New home for PM, a triangular Parliament — Modi govt readies Delhi power corridor makeover

Makeover of Delhi’s power corridor

In March, the central government had notified the change of land-use of over 86-acre area in Lutyens’ Delhi that currently houses some of India’s landmark buildings like the Parliament House and Rashtrapati Bhavan, among others, from “recreational/public and semi-public facilities” to “government use” — to expedite completion of the Central Vista redevelopment project.

The Central Vista revamp plan, aimed at giving Delhi’s power corridor a complete makeover, will include the construction of a new triangular-shaped Parliament, new PM residence, and 10 new building blocks to accommodate government offices, including Shastri Bhavan, Nirman Bhavan, Udyog Bhavan, Krishi Bhavan and Vayu Bhavan, among others.

The new residence for the prime minister will move to the southern side of Rashtrapati Bhavan.

These buildings currently house the offices of different central ministries such as education, health, housing, agriculture, commerce, air force, among others.

The land use change was notified even as a petition challenging the project is still pending in the Supreme Court.

All govt offices to be at one place

Union Minister for Housing and Urban Affairs Hardeep Singh Puri had earlier said there is a need to have all government offices at one place.

Even a small ministry like the external affairs, at present, has four or five different offices spread across Delhi.

Puri had said the government spends Rs 1,000 crore on giving rent every year for its office accommodations across the national capital.

Also read: Modi’s Central Vista plan shows Indian urban planners are as complicit in destroying heritage


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Andhra doctor, suspended for alleging PPE shortage, now beaten by cops for ‘creating nuisance’




doctor with a stethoscope
A doctor with a stethoscope (Representative image) | Pixabay

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Bengaluru: A doctor with a government hospital in Andhra Pradesh, who was suspended for questioning the shortage of PPE kits, was admitted to a mental health facility Sunday, a day after he was allegedly manhandled by the police and arrested for creating nuisance in Visakhapatnam.

Dr Sudhakar Rao, a government civil surgeon, was beaten, his hands tied behind his back and dragged by police officers Sunday. During the incident, Sudhakar allegedly verbally abused the Jagan Mohan Reddy government in an inebriated state. Videos of the incident have since been widely shared online.

“The police control room received a call about a person creating nuisance on Beach Road Hospital in Visakhapatnam. The Fourth Town police was rushed there and found that the person was the suspended doctor, Sudhakar.

“When the police tried to control him, he snatched the mobile phone of an officer and threw it away. He is suffering from mental disorder and he was drunk. He was sent for a medical examination,” Vishakapatnam Police Commissioner R.K. Meena told the media Sunday.

Sudhakar was admitted to a mental hospital Sunday after doctors at the King George Hospital in Vishakapatnam said he suffered from anxiety.

“Since the doctor is in anxiety and talking irrelevant things, I have referred him to a mental care hospital in Visakhapatnam,” said Dr Radha Rani, medical superintendent, King George Hospital.

A statement released by the hospital said: “Dr Sudhakar was brought to the KGH casualty ward at 6.30 pm. From the smell, it was found that he was in a drunk condition. Under the influence of alcohol, he did not cooperate with anybody there and kept abusing all. Still, his pulse, BP were checked. Pulse was 98, BP 140/100. Blood samples were sent to forensic lab to ascertain alcohol content in his blood.”

Also read: 6 toilets for 20 houses, inadequate testing: Why Mumbai’s Worli chawls are a Covid hotspot

‘Treatment towards Sudhakar was inhuman’

Sudhakar, who spent more than 10 years at the Narsipatnam Government Hospital in Andhra Pradesh, was suspended from his duties in March after he openly criticised the Reddy government for failing to provide PPE kits and N95 masks to doctors treating Covid-19 patients.

He had alleged that the state government was giving N95 masks and PPE kits meant for doctors to politicians and the police.

A video of Sudhakar criticising the government was also shared widely. In the clip, he can be heard saying: “We are putting our lives at risk here. We are asked to use the same mask for 15 days and a fresh mask will be provided only twice a month.”

Speaking to ThePrint, Dr P. Gangadhar Rao, member of the National COVID Committee of the Indian Medical Association, said the manner in which Sudhakar was manhandled by the police was “inhuman” and “violated” human rights.

“We strongly condemn the way he was taken into custody. He was not carrying a weapon, he was alone, the number of policemen outnumbered him. Why treat him like that? We also saw a video where a policeman beats him with a lathi,” said Dr Gangadhar.

He added that Rao was one of the most experienced anaesthetists the Andhra Pradesh government had.

“Our next step of action is to get Sudhakar to write an unconditional apology for having used filthy language, abusing the chief minister and the government. We will then take our appeal to the CM seeking that he be reinstated,” Gangadhar said.

Also read: Face shields, gowns, masks — the new attire for cabin crew post lockdown


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