Central Vista: Puri hits out at opposition, former bureaucrats

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NEW DELHI: Slamming the opposition, Union Housing and Urban Affairs Minister Hardeep Singh Puri 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.

Hitting out at 60 former bureaucrats over their open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi against the project, Puri said, “They are not educated fools, but they are a disgrace to the country.”

Citing some parts of the letter during a press conference, Puri, whose ministry is executing the Central vista redevelopment project, said these former civil servants have alleged that the government is building a new parliament building because of “superstitious beliefs”.

He said in 2012, the then Lok Sabha speaker Meira Kumar’s OSD had written to Union urban development secretary for a new Parliament building and former Union minister Jairam Ramesh had also advocated for a new building.

He said in 2012, it had been said that there was need of a new Parliament building.

But in 2021, these 60 former civil servants are saying the government is constructing a new building because of “superstitious beliefs”.

“They (60 former civil servants) are not educated fools, and they are a disgrace to the country,” the minister said.

“I will not put my signature on a letter which talks about superstitious beliefs…,” he said.

Without naming anyone, Puri said on May 18, the letter had been written by 60 former bureaucrats, including a former cabinet secretary and a foreign secretary.

“This is a motivated, ill-intentioned…criticism. They hide themselves behind social activists,” he said.

Talking about the new prime minister’s residence, Puri said no design has been finalised for it and only two projects — the Parliament building and Central Vista Avenue — are currently being executed at a cost of around Rs 1,300 crore.

Hitting out at the opposition, the Union minister said he has been noticing that a false narrative is being created over the central project, and added that no heritage building will be “touched”.

“This is not a vanity project, and this is a project of necessity,” Puri told reporters.

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