Hardeep Puri slams Jairam Ramesh’s doublespeak on new Parliament building

Pramila Deshpande
·4-min read
Union Housing and Urban Affairs Minister Hardeep Singh Puri. Photo: Getty Images
Union Housing and Urban Affairs Minister Hardeep Singh Puri. Photo: Getty Images

Union Housing and Urban Affairs Minister Hardeep Singh Puri took to Twitter to slam Congress MP Jairam Ramesh’s doublespeak over the construction of a new Parliament building.

Welcoming the Supreme Court’s verdict on Tuesday which gave the green signal to the central government’s Rs 13,500-crore Central Vista revamp project in New Delhi, that includes a new Parliament building, holding there was ‘no infirmity’ in the grant of environment clearance and permissions for change of land use, Puri said that Jairam Ramesh himself had in 2012 advocated the construction of a new Parliament building.

‘In an interview to The Hindu way back in 2012, when his party was in power, Jairam Ramesh had said: “We badly need a new Parliament building. This one simply isn’t functional & is outdated”,’ Puri tweeted.

Just a few days ago, Jairam Ramesh had blasted the Centre saying it is not just insensitive, but obscene to be thinking of the New Central Vista project at a time when the nation is facing a coronavirus pandemic. It should be put on hold indefinitely, he said adding that “there are more pressing uses for the thousands of crores that will be spent to satisfy one man's ego.”

Puri expressed his surprise at this sudden change of Ramesh’s view on the subject. In a series of tweets slamming Ramesh, Puri added: ‘His (Jairam Ramesh’s) memory is indeed fickle, but his vociferous opposition to the proposed new Parliament building which is part of the Central Vista Project is baffling.’

‘This is not surprising since his party leadership has for a long time abandoned people’s hopes and aspirations,’ Puri said.

Continuing on the subject, he added: ‘The then Hon’ble Speaker’s office had communicated to Secy-UD on 13 July 2012 highlighting the inadequacies of the existing Parliament building and an urgent need for construction of a new one. Congress was in power then. Sadly, few Congressmen feign collective amnesia today.’

Puri said that the central government has always been sensitive to environmental concerns and will continue to adhere to the highest standards during the period of construction.

‘Delhi is on course to becoming a World Class capital city and in the first step by the time the nation completes 75 years of its Independence in 2022 a new Parliament building will be ready reflecting the aspirations of new India,’ he tweeted.

Taking a cheeky dig at this, Hardeep Puri replied on Twitter saying that he was glad that at least someone in the Congress understands the importance of vaccines. ‘Now it will be better if you also educated your party colleagues Mr Jairam Ramesh and Shashi Tharoor on why vaccination is indeed important for the country rather than passing your judgment on a Hon'ble SC judgement.

The ambitious redevelopment project of the Central Vista -- the nation's power corridor -- envisages a new triangular Parliament building, a common central secretariat and revamping of the three-km-long Rajpath, from Rashtrapati Bhavan to India Gate. The Parliament building, with a seating capacity for 900 to 1,200 MPs, is to be constructed by August in 2022 to coincide with the 75th anniversary of Independence.

A three-judge bench headed by Justice A M Khanwilkar, and comprising Justices Dinesh Maheshwari and Sanjiv Khanna, in the majority verdict held that the grant of environmental clearance and the notification for change in land use for construction of the new Parliament building under the project was valid.

Last month, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had laid the foundation stone of the new Parliament building where the Lok Sabha chamber will have a seating capacity for 888 members, while the Rajya Sabha will have 384 seats for members.

Earlier, Congress spokesperson Shama Mohammed tweeted that clearance to the project was ‘a travesty of justice as when the priority of the government should be vaccinate every citizen, it is splurging Rs 20,000 crore on a vanity project, which won’t benefit the common man’.