Construction of a new building of Sansad (the Indian parliament) will begin in December this year. It is likely to be complete by October 2022. President Ram Nath Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi are likely to attend the foundation-stone-laying ceremony that is expected to be held in December.
Lok Sabha Secretariat officials say the authority has put necessary measures in place to ensure that parliament sessions go uninterrupted during this period in the existing buildings.
The Lok Sabha Secretariat officials said further that they had taken steps to control air and noise pollution during the construction work for the new parliament building.
New in new parliament building
The new building will be bigger in size, equipped with the latest digital interfaces as a step towards creating ‘paperless offices’. All MPs will have separate offices in the new building.
The Lok Sabha chamber in the new building will have a seating capacity for 888 members. The Rajya Sabha chamber will have seating capacity for 384 MPs. This was decided in a review meeting that Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla chaired.
The planners have increased seating capacity of both the chambers, keeping in mind the increase in the strength of both houses of the parliament in future. Currently, the Lok Sabha has a sanctioned strength of 543 members and the Rajya Sabha of 245.
The new building will have a grand Constitution Hall showcasing India’s democratic heritage, a lounge for members of parliament, a library, multiple committee rooms, dining areas and ample parking space.
The Constitution Hall will showcase the original copy of the Constitution and have digital displays of India’s democratic heritage. Visitors can access to this hall.
Age of existing parliament house
The British government had built the existing building of the parliament. Architects Edwin Lutyens and Herbert Baker had designed the structure. They were responsible for the planning and construction of New Delhi — hence, the name “Lutyens’ zone” for the area.
The foundation stone of the existing Parliament House was laid on 12 February 1921. The building took six years — more than the time proposed for the construction of the new building — to complete at the cost of Rs 83 lakh.
It was an expensive project of the time. Then Governor-General of India Lord Irwin had inaugurated the existing Parliament House on 18 January in 1927.
A monitoring committee will oversee the construction work. This committee will have officers from the Lok Sabha Secretariat, the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, the CPWD, the NDMC and the architect/designer of the project.
The Tata Projects Limited won the bid in September this year to construct the new parliament building at a cost of Rs 861.90 crore. The new building will be constructed close to the existing one under the Central Vista redevelopment project.
Om Birla chaired a meeting to review the construction of the new building of the parliament, the Lok Sabha Secretariat said in a statement. 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.
During the review, Birla emphasised the need for smooth coordination and resolving issues between various agencies involved on a regular basis.
Existing building post-‘retirement’
The existing Parliament House building will continue to be in use. It will be retro-fitted to provide more functional spaces for parliamentary events.
The existing building is a massive circular edifice of 560 feet in diameter. The building has all twelve gates.
An ornamental red sandstone wall or iron grills with iron gates — that can be closed when occasions so demand — encloses Parliament House Estate.
This is a grand redevelopment project of Central Vista — the nation’s power corridor. It envisages a new triangular building of parliament, a common central secretariat and revamping of the three-km-long Rajpath, from Rashtrapati Bhavan to the iconic India Gate.
Under the Central Vista redevelopment project, the prime minister’s residence is also likely to be shifted near the South Block that houses the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) and the vice-president’s new house will be in the vicinity of the North Block. The blocks are named “North” and “South” for their location north and south of the Rashtrapati Bhavan.
According to the plan, the vice president’s current residence is among those buildings identified by the government for demolition in Lutyens’ Delhi. There are plans to convert the North and South Blocks, which symbolise 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.
Why the change
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 which were 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 to house offices of several ministries. Puri had said that buildings built in the 1960s and 70s should have been torn down many years ago.