20:49 GMT15 May 2021
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    As Indians struggle to cope with the second wave of the coronavirus, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his government are being criticised for investing billions of dollars in building temples, statues, and reconstructing the parliament area of Delhi rather than focusing on enhancing India’s health infrastructure.

    India's Supreme Court on Tuesday agreed to hear a petition asking to put Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s lavish “Central Vista” project in Delhi on hold for the time being, given the COVID conditions. The construction of the $2.6 billion project has been classified under “essential services”, a decision that has not gone down well with the opposition Congress party.

    ​The petitioners, unnamed in media reports, have escalated the plea, saying that at a time when Delhi has over 1.17 million active coronavirus cases, construction workers are either camping near the site of the Central Vista project or travel 16 kilometres to work every day, which is unsafe, given the circumstances.

    In addition, Delhi is currently under a lockdown until 15 May, under which only construction sites with on-site accommodation for labourers are allowed to carry on with their work. The Central Vista project, however, reportedly doesn't meet this criteria, hence the continuation of the construction has come under question.

    In December 2020, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid the foundation stone of a new and “Indianised” parliament building in New Delhi. The project focuses on renovating the entire Central Vista area of the national capital that was originally designed by British architects.

    The posh area located at the heart of the national capital is a three-kilometre stretch, flaunting British-era buildings including the parliament, the Rashtrapati Bhavan (the President's Residence), and the India Gate war memorial.

    The construction of the project, which also includes a new residence for Modi, is being taken care of by one of India’s top construction firms – Tata Projects Limited – and is expected to be completed by 2022.

    Delhi hospitals are currently dealing with shortages of beds, oxygen, as well as treatment drugs amid rising coronavirus cases. Several opposition leaders, along with the Supreme Court, have insisted that PM Modi impose a complete lockdown in the country to curb the spread of the infection. The government is also being slammed for not having restricted religious gatherings and election rallies when the number of cases and deaths began to soar.

    ​This Government enforced revocation of Art 370 overnight , is ensuring Central Vista project finished on time, & it cannot supply 900MT oxygen daily to our capital’s hospitals for past 10 days?

    ​In the last 24 hours, India has recorded 3,780 COVID deaths along with 382,000 new cases.

    The country has also entered the fourth phase of its vaccination drive, offering inoculations for everyone above the age of 18. Prior to this, people aged over 45 were eligible to get vaccinated since 1 February, 2021.

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