Govt tender bars photos, videos at Central Vista

The Central Public Works Department has mandated restrictions on photography and videography as well as the entry of non-essential visitors during the next phase of the Central Vista project that entails the construction of a common secretariat, tender documents reviewed by HT showed on Thursday. The department has also issued guidelines under the head “Construction Sites for Covid-19 Outbreak” that mandate the use of PPE kits by those entering the areas.

“Mandatory use of PPEs (face mask, hand gloves and other as applicable) by everyone entering the premise. Re-usable PPEs should be thoroughly cleaned and should not be shared with others. There will be total Ban on non-essential visitors at sites (including from Head office staff, consultants etc. Photography/Videography at site should be carried out by authorised personnel identified by Engineer in charge. Contractor shall make necessary arrangement to keep away unauthorised persons to take photographs/videos,” one of the tender documents stated.

The tender inviting bids for the first three common secretariat buildings part of the Central Vista project at an estimated cost of 3,408 crore was issued last month, bids for which will open on June 15. It invited technical bids for the two-stage tender process for three buildings to be constructed on the plot that houses the IGNCA that is proposed to be demolished and relocated to a new campus at Jamnagar House. A total of 10 common secretariat buildings have been planned to serve as offices for about 70,000 central government employees.

Last week, the Central Public Works Department, the construction arm of the government, installed boards prohibiting photography or video recording and restricted the entry of public at the construction site for the Central Vista, which includes most of the Rajpath stretch. Hindustan Times reported on May 7 that the list of trees that will be removed for the project will include at least 20 jamun trees that are nearly 100 years old and were planted as part of the original plan of Lutyens’ Delhi in the 1920s.

A pre-bid meeting was held on April 30 for the common secretariat, including operations and maintenance for five years, and another was held on Tuesday. Fifteen firms evinced interest including Tata Projects Limited, Shapoorji Pallonji Group, L&T, among others.

The project involves having a new Parliament building in place by India’s 75th Independence Day in 2022.

Kanchi Kohli, a legal researcher at New Delhi’s Centre for Policy Research said: “The Central Vista is a public space, yet the public has been repeatedly excluded from this redevelopment process. It has been treated like a project of the government, by the government and for the government…It is this approach which is now being extended to disallow entry or photography into an area that the government… only holds in public trust.”

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