The symbolic construction of the new Parliament House on Central Vista will begin tomorrow, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi attending a groundbreaking ceremony at the center of Delhi near India Gate. However, the actual construction, with the petition challenging the project pending in the Supreme Court, cannot begin immediately. The new Parliament House is the flagship piece of the Rs 20,000-crore Central Vista project, which aims to build and renovate government buildings on the 13.4-km Rajpath stretch that extends from Rashtrapati Bhavan Rashtrapati Bhavan to the iconic War Memorial India Gate.
The ceremony will start at 12:55 pm, Bhoomi Poojan and foundation stone laying will be done at 1 pm. The Prime Minister will address the people at 2.15 pm.
The proposed four-storey building will span an area of 64,500 square meters and will have an estimated cost of Rs 971 crore. Construction is expected to be completed in time for the country’s 75th Independence Day in August 2022.
The proposed building in Central Vista will have a seating capacity for 888 members in the Lok Sabha Chamber with an option to increase 1224 members during the joint session. The Rajya Sabha chamber will have a seating capacity of 384 members. Increased capacity is built on the future. Currently, the Lok Sabha has an approved power of 543 members and the Rajya Sabha 245.
Each Member of Parliament will be provided 40 square meters of office space in the redeveloped Shram Shakti Bhavan, which will be completed by 2024. The new building will also showcase the country’s magnificent heritage with contributions from artisans and sculptors from across the country.
Given the limitations of the present period, a need was felt for a new Parliament House, which was built in the British period. With the depth, scope, and complexity of legislative and parliamentary functions over the years, many members have expressed the need for modern, high-tech facilities.
The existing building, however, cannot be upgraded to accommodate modern communications, security and earthquake safety without damaging the 93-year-old structure. It will be protected as it is an archaeological asset of the country, Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla said.
The existing Parliament building was opened on 18 January 1927, six years after construction. Its massive circular building with 144 sandstone columns was designed by Sir Edward Lutyens, who also designed the heart of Delhi – from the seat of government in the North Block to the iconic Connaught Place.
Last week, the Supreme Court accused the government of “aggressively proceeding” in the case, while a decision in the case is pending. The court said, “You can lay the foundation, you can do paperwork, but there will be no construction or demolition, no trees will be cut.”
The central Vista project will be connected with Rajpath – a 13.4 km long road lined with parks on both sides extending from Rashtrapati Bhavan to India Gate.
To that end, on the banks of the Yamuna, Navabharata Udyan will stand – a 20-acre park with an iconic structure and infotainment facilities, which will showcase the country’s rich historical and cultural heritage and scientific achievements. It is a symbol of the country’s unity in India’s diversity and aspirations, the government has said.