Delhi: Central Vista construction during crisis challenged

The petitioners said they are concerned by the “super spreading potential and threat” posed by the continuing construction at the project and the plight of the workers being exposed to the infection on a daily basis.

THE DELHI High Court on Tuesday said it would hear on May 17 the petition seeking a direction to halt construction work on the Central Vista Avenue Redevelopment Project during the subsistence of peak phase of the Covid-19 pandemic, after first going through the judgement passed by Supreme Court on the project.

The petition filed by Anya Malhotra, a translator, and Sohail Hashmi, a historian and documentary filmmaker, in the petition said they are concerned by the “super spreading potential and threat” posed by the continuing construction at the project and the plight of the workers being exposed to the infection on a daily basis.

Senior advocate Siddharth Luthra, appearing for the petitioners, said they are in no manner seeking to overreach the judgement of Supreme Court and the prayer is limited to seeking an interim stay on the construction during the peak phase of pandemic.

“The petitioners are also questioning why or how the project constitutes an ‘essential service’ merely because some executive mandated contractual deadline has to be met,” the court was told in the petition. “In the current dismal scenario, this project has no feature of ‘essentiality’ for and/or of ‘service’ to the public at large.”

‘Notice on more crematoriums’

The division bench of Chief Justice D.N Patel and Justice Jasmeet Singh issued a notice to the Delhi government and municipal corporations in a petition seeking right to dignity for Covid-19 victims and urgent increase in the number of crematorium grounds.

“The devastation caused by the lack of preparedness is such there are massive backlogs of dead bodies and the largest crematoriums are also turning away bodies or charging higher amounts for cremation,” said petitioner Pratyush Prasanna in the plea.

The petition also seeks alternative arrangements for cremation or burial and a direction to ensure proper supply of wood and other necessary materials for carrying out the last rites of the dead.

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