The Supreme Court of India has allowed the government to proceed with the restructuring process involving the construction of a new parliament.
Critics have called on the court to suspend the operation, saying the money could be spent on social welfare.
Apex Court’s Ruling
The government says a 200bn-rupee project ($ 2.7bn; £ 2bn) is needed to renovate an area in central Delhi that houses large government buildings.
This comes as the Indian economy has entered into a technical recession by contracting it’s GDP growth for two consecutive quarters
The court had withheld its ruling in early November and said it would look into complaints about whether the project violated environmental and land use laws.
“We hold that there are no infirmities in clearances given or change in land use,” a three-judge bench said on Tuesday. The court also asked the environment ministry to setup smoke towers and use smoke guns at the construction site to curb pollution.
200 Billion Central Vista Project
Under the redevelopment program – known as the Central Vista Project – the new building will replace the existing complex in the colonial parliament; expected to be completed by 2022, when India celebrates 75 years of independence.
A general secretariat will be set up to house the various government departments. Plans include new houses for the prime minister and deputy president.
The three-kilometer (1.8-mile) Rajpath (King’s Avenue), which is a landmark at which India celebrates its annual Republic Day celebrations, will also be given a chance to renovate.
Criticism From Opposition Parties
The project has been in trouble, with critics voicing their concern for beauty and cost.
Congress, the opposition party, has questioned the “absurdity” of the Baratiya Janata Party (BJP) government over “the new, costly redevelopment plan at a time when the country is undergoing a health crisis and a contracting economy”.
The government has defended its plan to revitalize the landmark in the center of India’s capital, saying a new parliament building is needed as the current one dates back to the 1920s and shows signs of “oppression and overuse”.
They also pointed out that there had been an increase in the number of members of Parliament and staff of Parliament.
The new building, which will be larger than the current one, will have 1,400 seats in Parliament, according to the Press Trust of India.
Reports say it will be a three-story triangular structure and Tata Projects will build the $ 117m (£ 90m) building.
On December 10, Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid the foundation stone for the new building.
The Supreme Court had allowed the government to go ahead with the ceremony after receiving an assurance that no work would start until the top court decides on the petitions before it.