New Delhi:
Union minister Hardeep Singh Puri on Saturday said that no Jamun trees have been uprooted as part of the ongoing Central Vista Avenue redevelopment project stretching from Rashtrapati Bhavan to India Gate, and asserted that defining elements of built heritage like lamp posts will be restored.

The Union housing and urban affairs minister said that only a few trees will be transplanted as part of the project, claiming that the overall green cover will increase.

This comes a day after reports said that several Jamun trees could be uprooted as part of the Central Vista Avenue redevelopment project.

''Do not believe in fake photos & canards about ongoing work at Central Vista Avenue. No Jamun trees have been removed. Only a few trees will be transplanted in the entire project. Overall green cover will increase. Defining elements of built heritage like lamp posts etc will be restored,'' Puri tweeted.

In another tweet, the minister said the new Central Vista Avenue will have more public space with refurbished lawns, paved walkways along Rajpath, improved landscape, clean canals, adequate public amenities, vending areas, public performance facilities, safe road crossings, non-disruptive facilities for public events etc.

The project will be ready in time to host the Republic Day parade in 2022, the 75th year of India's independence, he said.

The project is being executed by Shapoorji Pallonji and Co Pvt Ltd.

The redevelopment of the Central Vista, the nation's power corridor, envisages a new Parliament building, a common central secretariat, revamping of the 3-km Rajpath from Rashtrapati Bhavan to India Gate, new Prime Minister's residence and office, and a new Vice President Enclave.

The government has been facing criticism from the Opposition for executing the Central Vista redevelopment project amid the raging COVID-19 pandemic.

Attacking the government on Friday, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi termed the project a ''criminal wastage'' and asked the dispensation to focus on people's lives during the pandemic.