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Delhi: Privilege and priorities of the Covid-19 hit national capital

Ashoka Hotel booked to serve as a Covid-19 care centre for judges, judicial officers of Delhi High Court, their families, Central Vista project declared an ‘essential service’!

Sabrangindia 27 Apr 2021

delhi covidImage: REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

While mainstream and social media are full of heartbreaking stories of people dying outside hospitals, at homes, and on cremation grounds workers issuing waiting slips as bodies line up outside, there are some in the national capital who can sleep easy. According to reports, a hundred rooms in central Delhi's Ashoka Hotel have been booked to serve as a Covid-19 care centre for judges, judicial officers of the Delhi High Court, and their families. The order has been passed by the Chanakyapuri sub-divisional magistrate Geeta Grover.

It has been reported that the Primus Hospital will run the Covid care services at this five-star hotel. The order quoted by multiple media reports has said, “Biomedical waste disposal will be the responsibility of the hospital. The staff of the hotel shall be provided all protective gear and given basic adequate training. Ambulance for transfer facility will be provided by Primus Hospital," adding that  in case of “any shortage of hotel staff, the same will be provided by the hospital. All the services including rooms, housekeeping, disinfection and food for patients etc shall be provided by the hotel." 

According to this order, "The charges shall be collected by hospital and the hospital shall make the payment to the hotel. Primus Hospital may accommodate their doctors, nurses and other paramedical staff at their own expenses after deciding the rates mutually."

 

City gasps for Oxygen, cries for medicine, waits at hospitals, crematorium

For the rest of the city, there are hardly any beds for Covid-19 patients in most hospitals, many of which are regularly calling out the shortage of medical oxygen. Delhi has reported over 20,201 Covid-19 positive cases in the last 24 hours, with a positivity rate of over 35%. There have been over 380 deaths reported, but those visiting crematoria and burial grounds say the actual number may be much higher as not all those who died probably of Covid-19 related symptoms have the medical papers to prove it.   

According to a report in the NDTV, records of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi for 26 crematoriums it runs, show 3,096 cremations of Covid victims between April 18 and April 24. However the Delhi government recorded 1,938 deaths, the remaining 1,158 Covid deaths in Delhi were probably those who died at home or  have not been certified by hospitals. According to the report the MCD does not count these deaths as Covid deaths either and puts these as "suspected", even though they are cremated with full Covid-19 protocol. 

Delhi’s Central Vista project declared an ‘essential service’

Meanwhile, the lockdown extension in Delhi has not affected work at Central Vista, one of the most expensive construction projects in the city. According to a report in The Scroll, construction work at the Central Vista project, which got the go ahead from the Supreme Court in January 2021, continues. The three judge Bench of Justices AM Khanwilkar, Dinesh Maheshwari with Justice Sanjiv Khanna’s dissent, gave a go ahead to New Delhi’s Central Vista Project. The majority judgement that was authored by Justice Khanwilkar and on behalf of Justice Maheshwari held that the exercise of the power under the Delhi Development Authority Act was ‘just and valid’ and that the grant of environmental clearances by the Union Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change was also ‘valid and proper’. Justice Khanwilkar read out, “Selection and appointment of environmental consultants in the case is held to be just and proper. Modifications regarding change in land use stand confirmed.” Very importantly, Justice Sanjiv Khanna dissented from this opinion on the point of change of land use associated with the project emphasising that prior approval of the heritage committee was required when it came to change in land use.

The project involves constructing a new Central Secretariat, and last week the Central Public Works Department invited bids for the first three buildings at an estimated cost of ₹3,408 crore, reported The Hindu. These technical bids are a part of  the two-stage tender process for three buildings to be constructed on the plot that houses the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (IGNCA) stated the news report. According to this report the CPWD has estimated the construction work to cost ₹3,269 crore and maintenance for five years to cost ₹139 crore. The project may take 24 months to be completed.

However, at the moment under the lockdown in Delhi, only construction projects which have workers who live on the site are permitted to continue work. According to Scroll an exception has been made for the Central Vista project. The project has been declared an “essential service” stated the report. According to the report the Central Public Works Department, wrote to the Delhi Police stating that the project redevelopment to be done by Shapoorji Pallonji and Company Private Limited, is “of time bound nature and is to be completed before 30th November, 2021”, and therefore, the company had been directed to carry out the work “during all three shifts”.

On April 19, when Delhi was under an extended lockdown, the deputy commissioner of police for New Delhi district issued movement passes for 180 vehicles engaged in the project work to operate, reported the Scroll. The movement passes had been granted in the “essential services” category. The workers too, stated the news reports are doing their job under the fear of Covid-19 surge. 

 

 

According to a report in the Hindu,  as a part of the Central Vista redevelopment project, the government is planning to construct 10 new Secretariat buildings on Rajpath after demolishing most of the existing buildings. 

Related:

Covid-19 surge continues in Delhi as govt scampers to add beds, oxygen, vaccines

Lulled into a false sense of security only to be hit by tsunami of infections: Madras HC

Uttar Pradesh CM Adityanath ‘warns’ hospitals flagging 

Why did J. Sanjiv Khanna dissent from the Central Vista majority judgment?

SC greenlights Central Vista project, decision split 2:1 

 

Delhi: Privilege and priorities of the Covid-19 hit national capital

Ashoka Hotel booked to serve as a Covid-19 care centre for judges, judicial officers of Delhi High Court, their families, Central Vista project declared an ‘essential service’!

delhi covidImage: REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

While mainstream and social media are full of heartbreaking stories of people dying outside hospitals, at homes, and on cremation grounds workers issuing waiting slips as bodies line up outside, there are some in the national capital who can sleep easy. According to reports, a hundred rooms in central Delhi's Ashoka Hotel have been booked to serve as a Covid-19 care centre for judges, judicial officers of the Delhi High Court, and their families. The order has been passed by the Chanakyapuri sub-divisional magistrate Geeta Grover.

It has been reported that the Primus Hospital will run the Covid care services at this five-star hotel. The order quoted by multiple media reports has said, “Biomedical waste disposal will be the responsibility of the hospital. The staff of the hotel shall be provided all protective gear and given basic adequate training. Ambulance for transfer facility will be provided by Primus Hospital," adding that  in case of “any shortage of hotel staff, the same will be provided by the hospital. All the services including rooms, housekeeping, disinfection and food for patients etc shall be provided by the hotel." 

According to this order, "The charges shall be collected by hospital and the hospital shall make the payment to the hotel. Primus Hospital may accommodate their doctors, nurses and other paramedical staff at their own expenses after deciding the rates mutually."

 

City gasps for Oxygen, cries for medicine, waits at hospitals, crematorium

For the rest of the city, there are hardly any beds for Covid-19 patients in most hospitals, many of which are regularly calling out the shortage of medical oxygen. Delhi has reported over 20,201 Covid-19 positive cases in the last 24 hours, with a positivity rate of over 35%. There have been over 380 deaths reported, but those visiting crematoria and burial grounds say the actual number may be much higher as not all those who died probably of Covid-19 related symptoms have the medical papers to prove it.   

According to a report in the NDTV, records of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi for 26 crematoriums it runs, show 3,096 cremations of Covid victims between April 18 and April 24. However the Delhi government recorded 1,938 deaths, the remaining 1,158 Covid deaths in Delhi were probably those who died at home or  have not been certified by hospitals. According to the report the MCD does not count these deaths as Covid deaths either and puts these as "suspected", even though they are cremated with full Covid-19 protocol. 

Delhi’s Central Vista project declared an ‘essential service’

Meanwhile, the lockdown extension in Delhi has not affected work at Central Vista, one of the most expensive construction projects in the city. According to a report in The Scroll, construction work at the Central Vista project, which got the go ahead from the Supreme Court in January 2021, continues. The three judge Bench of Justices AM Khanwilkar, Dinesh Maheshwari with Justice Sanjiv Khanna’s dissent, gave a go ahead to New Delhi’s Central Vista Project. The majority judgement that was authored by Justice Khanwilkar and on behalf of Justice Maheshwari held that the exercise of the power under the Delhi Development Authority Act was ‘just and valid’ and that the grant of environmental clearances by the Union Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change was also ‘valid and proper’. Justice Khanwilkar read out, “Selection and appointment of environmental consultants in the case is held to be just and proper. Modifications regarding change in land use stand confirmed.” Very importantly, Justice Sanjiv Khanna dissented from this opinion on the point of change of land use associated with the project emphasising that prior approval of the heritage committee was required when it came to change in land use.

The project involves constructing a new Central Secretariat, and last week the Central Public Works Department invited bids for the first three buildings at an estimated cost of ₹3,408 crore, reported The Hindu. These technical bids are a part of  the two-stage tender process for three buildings to be constructed on the plot that houses the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (IGNCA) stated the news report. According to this report the CPWD has estimated the construction work to cost ₹3,269 crore and maintenance for five years to cost ₹139 crore. The project may take 24 months to be completed.

However, at the moment under the lockdown in Delhi, only construction projects which have workers who live on the site are permitted to continue work. According to Scroll an exception has been made for the Central Vista project. The project has been declared an “essential service” stated the report. According to the report the Central Public Works Department, wrote to the Delhi Police stating that the project redevelopment to be done by Shapoorji Pallonji and Company Private Limited, is “of time bound nature and is to be completed before 30th November, 2021”, and therefore, the company had been directed to carry out the work “during all three shifts”.

On April 19, when Delhi was under an extended lockdown, the deputy commissioner of police for New Delhi district issued movement passes for 180 vehicles engaged in the project work to operate, reported the Scroll. The movement passes had been granted in the “essential services” category. The workers too, stated the news reports are doing their job under the fear of Covid-19 surge. 

 

 

According to a report in the Hindu,  as a part of the Central Vista redevelopment project, the government is planning to construct 10 new Secretariat buildings on Rajpath after demolishing most of the existing buildings. 

Related:

Covid-19 surge continues in Delhi as govt scampers to add beds, oxygen, vaccines

Lulled into a false sense of security only to be hit by tsunami of infections: Madras HC

Uttar Pradesh CM Adityanath ‘warns’ hospitals flagging 

Why did J. Sanjiv Khanna dissent from the Central Vista majority judgment?

SC greenlights Central Vista project, decision split 2:1 

 

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