New Parliament building will be witness to self-reliant India: Modi
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday laid the foundation stone of the new Parliament building, saying the new building will be witness to a self-reliant India. The new building is a part of the Central Vista project which seeks to refurbish government buildings along the 13.4-km-long Rajpath in central Delhi. After the foundation stone was laid, a sarva dharma prarthana (all-religion prayer) was held.
Modi unveiled a plaque to mark the foundation laying ceremony as several religious leaders present performed the sarva dharma prarthana. Pujaris from the Sringeri Math Karnataka performed the rituals for the 'bhoomi pujan'. Union Ministers Amit Shah, Rajnath Singh, Ravi Shankar Prasad, Hardeep Singh Puri, Tata Trusts' Chairperson Ratan Tata, Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairperson Harivansh, Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla, were among those present.
"Today is a historic day," Modi said, "The people of India together will construct this new building of the Parliament." "The old Parliament building gave a new direction to India after independence. The new building will be witness to the building of an aatmanirbhar Bharat (self-reliant India)," he said, adding that the ambitions of the 21st century will be realized in the new building.
Praising India's spirit of democracy, Modi said, "India is the mother of democracy." "We will have to take the pledge of 'India first,'" he further said, "Our decisions should make the nation stronger." "Our efforts in the next 25-26 years should be toward how we want to see India in 2047, in our 100 years of Independence."
However, actual construction for the Central Vista project cannot begin immediately as the Supreme Court has warned the government against any construction yet. The apex court has halted any construction until it takes a decision on a batch of 10 petitions challenging the project.
A new Parliament building has been planned over 64,500 square meters of land near the existing building. The need for a new building arose as legislative and parliamentary work increased over the years. The new building—which is expected to be ready by 2022—will be bigger than the existing complex, boasting bigger Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha chambers, a grand Constitution Hall, paperless offices, etc.
The new building is being built at an estimated cost of Rs. 971 crore. Tata Projects Limited has been awarded the contract for construction while the design has been prepared by HCP Design, Planning and Management Private Limited. The building will be earthquake resistant and will have the capacity to seat 1,224 MPs—888 in the Lok Sabha chamber and 384 in the Rajya Sabha.
Birla said that the existing Parliament building will be conserved as an archaeological asset. The foundation stone of the building was laid on February 12, 1921, and its opening ceremony was performed on January 18, 1927. The building—which cost Rs. 83 lakh at the time—was designed by Edwin Lutyens and Herbert Baker, who were also responsible for the planning and construction of New Delhi.