The new parliament building, the foundation stone for which was laid by Prime Minister Narendra Modi today, will be built on 64,500 square metres area, a stone’s throw from Rashtrapati Bhavan, and is the highlight of the government’s ambitious Rs 20,000-crore Central Vista project.
The four-storey building will have a triangular shape, while its interiors will have three national symbols as their main themes — Lotus, Peacock and Banyan Tree.
There are plans to finish the building, estimated to cost Rs 971 crore, before the country’s 75th Independence Day in 2022, but construction cannot begin yet as a legal challenge to the project is pending in the Supreme Court. The new parliament building at the heart of Delhi will be a “symbol of a new and self-reliant India,” PM Modi said.
The new building, being constructed by Tata Projects Ltd, will come up in front of the existing Parliament House that was built nearly 100 years ago at a cost of Rs 83 lakh at that time and would eventually be turned into a museum.
It will house larger Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha Halls, with capacities of 888 seats and 384 seats respectively, to accommodate an expanded Parliament after the freeze on its expansion lifts in 2026. The Lok Sabha Hall will also have additional capacity, up to 1,272 seats, to host joint sessions.
“The new Parliament building is designed in a triangular shape, since it sits on a triangular plot and has three main spaces — Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha and a Central Lounge. Also, triangles are sacred geometries in various religions and cultures of the country,” the new building’s architecture Bimal Patel said.
“In the Lok Sabha chamber, we have used the national bird Peacock as its theme, in Rajya Sabha chamber we have used the national flower Lotus as its theme and in Central Lounge courtyard we have used the national tree Banyan as its theme,” Mr Patel added.
The National Emblem will crown the new Parliament building. The ceiling of the new Parliament building will have fresco paintings like that of Rashtrapati Bhawan and carpets will have traditional designs, instead of the current single colour carpets. To retain some of the characteristics of the existing Parliament, the interior walls of the new one will have shlokas inscribed on them.
Dholpur stone will be largely used, as is the case with the existing Parliament, and in some interior portions, red granite may be used in place of the red sandstone.
The new building has been designed by Ahmedabad-based HCP Design and Management Pvt Limited and will 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, officials said.
The new Parliament building will house committee rooms, major offices of the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs, Lok Sabha Secretariat and Rajya Sabha Secretariat, dining facilities, publicly accessible museum-grade galleries and exhibits.
The central Constitution Hall and Gallery will showcase the Indian Constitution and other artefacts of India’s heritage.
Provisions in the furniture will be made for smart displays and biometrics for ease of voting with an intuitive and graphical interface, digital language interpretation and recording infrastructure to produce real-time metadata, programmable microphones that put the control of managing the house with the speaker. The design of interiors will be detailed through virtual sound simulations to set the right levels of reverberation sound and limit the echo will be some of the audio-visual tech-features of the new facility.
A central courtyard will provide for an open meeting space for Members of both houses along with an adjoining cafe. There will be museum grade galleries and exhibits which will be accessible to all. Chambers for all Members of Parliament are proposed in close proximity of both the facilities. It is designed to have VVIP access at the subterranean level, freeing up ground floor entrances for use by the public and official. The proposed Parliament will also be fully accessible for the disabled and the halls have very effective emergency evacuation provisions.
The entrances would include a ceremonial one for President and Prime Minister, one for Lok Sabha Speaker, Rajya Sabha Chairman and Members of Parliament, and two public entrances.
(With PTI inputs)