Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra today questioned the expenditure of Rs 20,000 crore on the Central Vista project amid the pandemic when it could have been used to procure as many as 62 crore vaccine doses and upgrade medical infrastructure.
She made the point at a meeting of the Congress Working Committee (CWC), the party’s highest decision-making body, where the centre came in for strong criticism for its handling of the pandemic.
She later posted on Twitter:
PM’s new residence & Central vista cost
= Rs 20,000 cr
= 62 crore vaccine doses
= 22 crore Remdesvir vials
= 3 crore 10 litre oxygen cylinders
= 13 AIIMS with a total of 12,000 beds
— Priyanka Gandhi Vadra (@priyankagandhi) May 10, 2021
The Congress leader has repeatedly criticised the government for going ahead with the Central Vista project at a time when a surge in Covid cases has left people scrambling for hospital beds and medical equipment such as oxygen cylinders.
In a tweet posted last week, she had said, “At a time when the people of the country are struggling with shortage of oxygen, vaccines, hospital beds, medicines, it would be better if the government deploys all resources in saving the lives of the people, instead of building a new house for the PM at Rs 13,000 crore.”
At the CWC meeting, Congress president Sonia Gandhi targeted the government for pursuing the grand project instead of providing free vaccination to all.
“Every expert has said that it would have made more sense and it would have been financially more equitable for the Centre to bear the costs. But we know (Prime Minister Narendra) Modi government has other priorities, pursuing grandiose projects against the force of public opinion and the face of widespread criticism.”
As part of the Central Vista project, a new triangular Parliament building, a common Central Secretariat and new residences for the Prime Minister and the Vice-President are to come up. The 3-km Rajpath from Rashtrapati Bhavan to India Gate is also set to be revamped.