Curtain Raiser: PM Modi to lay the foundation stone of new parliament building
The Foundation laying ceremony for the New Parliament Building would be held on 10 December 2020. Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi will lay the foundation stone and also perform Bhoomi Poojan.
The construction of the extant Parliament House, one of the most magnificent buildings in the country, was done under the supervision of renowned architects, Sir Edward Lutyens and Sir Herbert Baker. The foundation stone of Parliament House was laid on 12 February 1921 by the Duke of Connaught. The opening ceremony for the building was performed on 18 January 1927 by the then Viceroy of India, Lord Irwin.
The Parliament House is a massive circular building measuring 560 feet in diameter. Its circumference is one-third of a mile and it covers an area of nearly six acres. The open verandah on the first floor is fringed with a colonnade of 144 creamy sandstone columns, each standing 27 feet high, lending a unique grace and charm to the building. The entire Parliament House is enclosed by an ornamental red sand-stone wall with iron gates; the building has in all twelve gates among which Gate No. 1
The construction of the building took six years and the cost of construction was Rs. 83 lakh. The Central Legislative Assembly met for the first time in Parliament House on 19 January 1927.
The Building has been witness to many historic occasions. The journey of Indian legislature began here, with the establishment of Central Legislative Assembly and Council of State in 1921. The transfer of power from Britain to India also took place within its precincts. The Constituent Assembly, that drafted the Constitution of India also met in the Central Hall of the Parliament.
On 13 May 1952, the representatives of the people, elected through the First General Elections in Independent India’s history, met for the first time as members of the House of the People and the Council of States. Ever since then, the Indian Parliament has been the friend, philosopher and guide for our countrymen, taking the nation forward through under the guidance of the Constitution of India.
The Parliament House Estate presently comprises of the Sansad Bhawan (Parliament House), Reception Office Building, Sansadiya Soudha (Parliament House Annexe), Extension to Parliament House Annexe and Sansadiya Gyanpeeth (Parliament Library Building) surrounded by extensive lawns around it. The Parliament House Annexe, the Parliament Library Building and the Extension to Parliament House Annexe were added to the Parliament House Complex in 1975, 2002 and 2017, respectively.
The Parliament House, which is more than 93 years old, has many limitations with regard to modern communication, security and earthquake safety requirements. There are also limitations to retrofitting the building. Consequently, necessary modifications cannot be made without causing damage to its structure and visage.
The need for the New Parliament Building has long been felt as the depth, scope, and complexity of legislative and parliamentary work has increased manifold over time. A number of Members have over the years expressed the need for modern and hi-tech facilities to enable them to focus meaningfully on the needs of their constituents and address issues of public importance at the earliest.
The proposal for the New Parliament Building was simultaneously made by Vice-President of India and Chairman, Rajya Sabha, Shri M.Venkaiah Naidu and Lok Sabha Speaker, Shri Om Birla on 5 August 2019 in the Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha, respectively.
It is proposed that the four-storied New Parliament Building would be built in an area of 64500 sq m at an estimated cost of 971 Crore, to be completed in time to commemorate India’s 75th Independence Day. Each Member of Parliament would also be provided with a 40 sq m office space in the redeveloped Shram Shakti Bhawan, construction for which is slated to be completed by 2024.
The New Parliament Building has been designed by M/s HCP Design and Management Pvt. Limited Ahmedabadand the construction would be carried out by Tata Projects Ltd. The New Building is to be equipped with all modern Audio Visual communication facilities and Data network systems. Special care is being taken to ensure all environmental safeguards are followed, including minimal disturbance to Parliament sessions during construction work.
Changing times have also meant that future needs have to be borne in mind. The proposed New Parliament Building (NPB) will have a seating capacity for 888 Members in the Lok Sabha Chamber with an option to increase to 1224 Members during Joint Sessions. Similarly, the Rajya Sabha Chamber would have a seating capacity for 384 Members. India’s glorious heritage too will find a place in the NPB. Artisans and sculptors from all over the country would contribute to and showcase India’s cultural diversity in the New Parliament Building.
Indian democracy has withstood the test of time and gone from strength to strength over the years. The peoples’ faith in democratic institutions and processes has only deepened with time and they have benefitted from having their voice heard. The New Parliament Building would stand as a monument to Indian democracy and its people, showcasing not only our magnificent history but also the strength, unity, diversity and industriousness of our people.