PM will lay foundation stone of new Parliament building today
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will lay the foundation stone of the new Parliament building today. Several ministers from his government, politicians from other parties, and ambassadors of different countries are expected to attend the event. He will lay the first stone at 1 pm and address the crowd at 2:15 pm. A sarva dharma prarthana will be held at 1:30 pm. Here's more.
The building is an important part of the Central Vista project, whose budget is estimated to be Rs. 20,000 crore. The project is aimed at refurbishing government buildings on the 13.4-km-long Rajpath. The existing building was designed by Edwin Lutyens and Herbert Baker during the British-era. Built at a cost of Rs. 83 lakh, the building was inaugurated on February 12, 1921, and opened in January of 1927.
As legislative and parliamentary work increased over the years, the need for a new building arose. Since the current building could not have been upgraded with modern state-of-art facilities without damaging it, the government decided to construct a new one. Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla had earlier revealed the old building will be "conserved" as it's an "archaeological asset."
Spread over an area of nearly 64,500 square meters, the proposed four-storied building will have a grand Constitution Hall, which will sing tales of India's democratic heritage. It will also nestle a lounge for MPs, a library, multiple committee rooms, dining areas, and ample parking space, a press note revealed. It will reportedly cost somewhere around Rs. 971 crore; the construction is expected to get finished by August 2022.
The Lok Sabha chamber in the new building will be able to comfortably seat 888 members, while 384 members can sit in the Rajya Sabha. Keeping in mind the joint Parliamentary sessions, the Lok Sabha chamber has been given the option to increase its capacity for 1,224 members. Currently, Lok Sabha's strength stands at 543 members and Rajya Sabha's at 245.
The new building will be constructed by Tata Projects Limited, as it won the bid in September this year. About the new building, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi wrote in HT that it is a symbol of Aatmanirbhar Bharat. Calling the groundbreaking ceremony a historic event, the BJP leader added that the coronavirus pandemic revealed the shortcomings of the existing building.
However, on December 7, the Supreme Court lambasted Centre for "pushing forward aggressively" the project, even when the petitions linked to it were pending. The apex court allowed the ground-breaking ceremony on the condition that no construction or demolition will happen. "You can lay the foundation stone, you can carry on paperwork but no construction or demolition, no cutting down any trees," SC ordered.