Prime Minister Narendra Modi will lay the foundation stone of the New Parliament building on December 10 with a ‘bhoomi pujan’ for the project, which is to be completed by 2022, coinciding with 75 years of India’s independence, at an estimated cost of over 970 crores.
“The existing temple of democracy is completing 100 years… It is a matter of pride for our countrymen that the new one will be built by our own people as a prime example of Aatmanirbhar Bharat,” Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla said, giving details of the proposed building to reporters on Saturday. “The new building will showcase the cultural diversity of the country. Hopefully, in the 75th year of independence (2022), Parliament session will be held in the new building,” he said.
The grand 4-storey building will be a modern one and also incorporate regional arts and crafts. On the periphery of the new building, blocks will come up for reception, information counter and public waiting area. It will be made accessible for the differently-abled. Besides the main entrance, the triangular structure will have a ceremonial entrance and one exclusively for the Speaker of Lok Sabha and Chairman of Rajya Sabha.
Built over an area of 64,500 sq m, the building will have more space to accommodate 888 MPs in Lok Sabha compared to the present strength of 543 members while Rajya Sabha will accommodate 384 seats against the current strength of 245. The number of members in both Houses is likely to increase after 2026 due to delimitation.
Birla said Lok Sabha will have the option to increase seating capacity to 1,224 for joint sittings and there will be no Central Hall. He said artisans and sculptors from all over the country would showcase India’s cultural diversity in the new building, making it a symbol of Atmanirbhar Bharat. Birla said each MP would be provided with a 40 sq m office space.
“Current arrangement undermines the dignity of the institution and poses security challenges as movements are highly restricted. Offices within the Parliament are quite cramped and lack basic services. The facilities such as meeting rooms, press rooms, etc. are also inadequate and severely stressed,” a senior officer said.
The new building has been designed for better facilities, space and technology, which will meet current and future needs. As per the plan, the digital audio-visual system, which will be placed in front of every seat, will have “programmable rules-based microphones”, which will put the Speaker in control of who gets to speak and who does not.
The existing Parliament building was designed to house the imperial legislative council and was not planned for a bicameral national legislature. Two floors were added to the structure in 1956 due to demand for more space.