Central Vista area to get 1,753 new trees as transplant, revamp to raise green cover

As many as 1,753 new trees will be transplanted and 2,000 tree saplings planted in the Central Vista area under the government’s ambitious redevelopment plan, which will increase the overall green cover there, official sources said Sunday. They also said that as per the proposed plan, 3,230 trees will be moved out of the Central Vista area and transplanted to the NTPC Eco Park in Badarpur after obtaining necessary clearance from the Ministry of Environment & Forest, and a permission from the Forest Department.

After all the transplantation and plantation, they said, the Central Vista area will have a net gain of 563 trees.

One of the sources said, “1,753 new trees will be transplanted within the project sites and 2,000 new tree saplings are to be planted within Central Vista area.”

The proposed plan also includes compensatory plantation that will ensure a substantial increase in the overall green cover of the national capital, the sources said.

“A total of 36,083 tree (saplings) will be planted in the city and overall green cover will increase substantially, including 32,330 trees to be planted in the NTPC Eco Park in Badarpur as compensatory plantation,” an official source said.

The redevelopment project of the Central Vista — the power corridor of the country — envisages a new triangular Parliament building, a common Central Secretariat and the revamping of the three-km-long Rajpath from the Rashtrapati Bhavan to India Gate and new residences for the prime minister and the vice president.

The government has been facing criticism from the opposition for executing the Central Vista Redevelopment Project amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Slamming the opposition, Union Housing and Urban Affairs Minister Hardeep Singh Puri had on Monday said a false narrative is being created over the Central Vista redevelopment plan and asserted that it is not a “vanity project”, but a necessity.

Under the redevelopment of Central Vista Avenue which comprises Rajpath, leading from the Rashtrapati Bhavan to India Gate, 48 trees are proposed to be transplanted and of them, permission has been granted for 25, including 22 Jamun trees, till date, sources said.

However, no old tree planted as per Lutyen’s original plan, including Jamun trees, is proposed to be transplanted, they said.

Transplantation of the trees approved is in progress, they said.

On Sunday, the government sought to bust “myths” around the Central Vista project, saying that all laid down procedures have been followed.

“The cost for the PM’s residential complex has been mischievously exaggerated in media. It is part of many projects, as mentioned earlier, whose neither the design has been approved nor the cost estimate or tendered cost has been firmed up,” they said.

Detailed environment impact assessment has been carried out for all the 10 Buildings under the Common Central Secretariat, Common Conferencing facility, Prime Minister’s Residence, Prime Minister’s Office and Vice President Enclave.

“The Expert Appraisal Committee which is an independent body of field experts has examined this and recommended for clearance on May 2 this year. Environmental Clearance has been granted by MoEF&CC on May 31.

“Therefore, these statements that piecemeal approach has been taken to surmise adverse impact of this project is unfound and totally false,” they said.

The Congress has been asking the BJP-led Union government to shelve its plans on the central vista redevelopment project and give priority to improving medical infrastructure during the COVID-19 pandemic to save people’s lives.

The government said that all the paintings, sculptures, manuscripts, collections and other significant heritage and cultural artefacts that are presently housed at the National Museum, National Archives of India and Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (IGNCA) are carefully preserved.

According to the Union Housing and Urban Affairs Ministry, the entire project will be carried out in a heritage-sensitive manner. The existing documents and artefacts will be moved to upgraded facilities, with modern infrastructure, to ensure their longevity, it has said.

The entire exercise will be spearheaded and monitored by the Ministry of Culture, ensuring compliance to the heritage conservation guidelines.

All the relevant heritage-sensitive approvals and clearances will be obtained from Heritage Conservation Committee (HCC) before initiating the project, it has said.

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