Udayavni Special

New Parliament building to be ready by Oct 2022; construction to begin in Dec

PTI, Oct 24, 2020, 1:14 PM IST

Construction of a new Parliament building will begin in December this year and is likely to be completed by October 2022, while necessary measures have been put in place to ensure that Parliament sessions can be held uninterrupted during this period in the existing buildings, Lok Sabha Secretariat said on Friday.

Officials also said that sufficient steps had been taken to control air and noise pollution during the construction work for the new parliament building, which will have separate offices for all MPs, and those will be equipped with the latest digital interfaces as a step towards creating ‘paperless offices.’

The new building will also have a grand Constitution Hall to showcase India’s democratic heritage, a lounge for members of Parliament, a library, multiple committee rooms, dining areas, and ample parking space.

In the new building, the Lok Sabha chamber will have a seating capacity for 888 members, while Rajya Sabha will have 384 seats for the upper house members, sources said after a review meeting chaired by Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla. This has been done keeping in mind the future increase in the number of members for the two houses.

At present, Lok Sabha has a sanctioned strength of 543 members and Rajya Sabha of 245.

The ground-breaking ceremony is expected to be held in December and maybe attended by President Ram Nath Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, besides the presiding officers of the two houses, among other dignitaries, including political leaders.

The existing building is a British era building designed by Edwin Lutyens and Herbert Baker, who were responsible for the planning and construction of New Delhi.

The Foundation Stone of the existing Parliament House was laid on February 12, 1921, and the construction took six years and cost Rs 83 lakh at that time. The opening ceremony was performed on January 18, 1927, by the then Governor-General of India, Lord Irwin.

At the meeting, Birla said there should be no compromise in ensuring quality control and timely completion of the work relating to the new Parliament House.

A monitoring committee will be constituted to oversee the construction work, which would include officers of Lok Sabha Secretariat, Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, CPWD, NDMC, and architect/designer of the project.

Last month, Tata Projects Limited won the bid to construct the new parliament building at the cost of Rs 861.90 crore. The new building will be constructed close to the existing one under the Central Vista redevelopment project.

In a statement, the Lok Sabha Secretariat said Birla chaired a review meeting regarding the construction of the new Parliament House today. The meeting was also attended by Union Minister of State for Housing and Urban Affairs Shri Hardeep Singh Puri.

During the meeting, Birla was briefed about the progress made in the shifting of facilities and other infrastructure from the area proposed for the construction of the new building.

“The barricading plan and the various mitigating measures to control the air and noise pollution during the construction process were elaborated. The officers of the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs further briefed Birla about the proposed movement plan of VIPs and staff during this period, including during Parliament sessions,” the statement said.

The existing Parliament House building will be suitably retro-fitted to provide more functional spaces for parliamentary events to ensure its usage along with the new building, officers said.

Reviewing the various aspects and progress of the project, Birla stressed the smooth coordination and resolving issues between various agencies involved on a regular basis.

The ‘Constitution Hall’ will house the original copy of the Constitution, digital displays for showcasing India’s democratic heritage, etc. Visitors will be given access to this hall to help them to appreciate and understand India’s journey as a parliamentary democracy.

The redevelopment project of Central Vista – the nation’s power corridor – envisages a new triangular parliament building, a common central secretariat, and revamping of the 3-km-long Rajpath, from Rashtrapati Bhavan to India Gate.

Under the Central Vista redevelopment project, the prime minister’s residence and office are also likely to be shifted near the South Block, and the vice-president’s new house will be in the vicinity of the North Block.

According to the plan, the vice president’s current residence is among those buildings identified by the government for demolition in Lutyens’ Delhi for the purpose of the project. There are plans to convert the North and South Blocks, which symbolize the government’s authority since their inception in Lutyens’ Delhi, into museums.

Gujarat-based architecture firm HCP Designs has designed the Central Vista redevelopment project. The firm has the responsibility of preparing the master plan of the project, including designs, landscape, and traffic integration plans, and parking facilities, among others.

In September last year, Union Housing and Urban Affairs Minister Hardeep Singh Puri had said the British ruled India for 190 years, and they had good architects who built buildings that are now part of the country’s cultural heritage.

The government is likely to demolish buildings such as Udyog Bhawan, Krishi Bhawan, and Shastri Bhawan to facilitate a new Central Secretariat, which will house offices of several ministries. Puri had said that buildings that had been built in the 1960s and 70s should have been torn down many years ago. The existing building is a massive circular edifice of 560 feet in diameter.

The Parliament House Estate is enclosed by an ornamental red sandstone wall or iron grills with iron gates that can be closed when occasions demand. The building has all twelve gates.

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