The Centre on Tuesday asked the Delhi High Court to reject a petition seeking an interim stay on the ongoing construction at Central Vista Avenue in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, saying the petition was “yet another attempt” to halt the project. On Tuesday, the court announced that the case would be heard on Wednesday.
“Such attempts are going on since the inception of the project under one pretext or the other and in one name or the other,” said the Union government in its response to the petition. It also pointed out that the petition must be turned down with “exemplary costs” on the ground “that it is an abuse of the process of law”.
Anya Malhotra, a translator, and Sohail Hashmi, a historian and documentary filmmaker, have filed a petition expressing their concern about the “super spreading potential and threat” raised by ongoing construction at the project site, as well as the plight of the employees who are exposed to the infection on a daily basis.
In a written response, the government stated that 400 workers for the renovation of Central Vista Avenue were hired “well before” the implementation of Delhi’s curfew, and that the workers are staying on site in accordance with the Delhi government’s Covid-19 guidelines. The Centre argued that construction during curfew are permitted where labourers are residing on-site, under Paragraph 8 of the Delhi Disaster Management Authority’s April 19 order.
It wrote, arguing ““While the arrangements for the stay of the workers were being made at the site, permission was sought for transportation of materials and labour from Sarai Kale Khan camp to the work site, including permission for the movement of supervisory staff. It is submitted that the said permission was granted on 19.04.2021, and was valid up to 30.04.2021.”