NEW DELHI: As the first phase of the Central Vista project culminated with the opening of the Central Vista Avenue by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday, work to complete the second phase of the project has gathered pace. As part of the second phase of the project, the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs is working towards the completion of the new Parliament building which is likely to be inaugurated well ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.
According to the earlier plan, the new Parliament building was supposed to be inaugurated by August this year; however, some delays were reported in the construction because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Sources in the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs told The Sunday Guardian that they are very happy with the work and the timely completion of the Central Vista Avenue, renamed as Kartavya Path, and that all their focus would now be on completing and delivering the new Parliament building to the nation.
“We are delighted to see the outcome of the renewed Central Avenue, the three-kilometre stretch from the Rashtrapati Bhavan to India Gate. The general public would now be able to see a brand-new Kartavya Path with better amenities and modern design. Now that this phase of the project is over, we will be focusing on completing the new Parliament building. Much of the work is already done and we are keeping a daily update on the project. We hope to deliver it well before March 2024,” a senior official with the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs told The Sunday Guardian.
The new Parliament building is part of the Centre’s larger Central Vista project which includes a new Parliament House, a new Central Secretariat complex for ministries, and new residences for the Prime Minister and the Vice President which will be completed by 2024—in total, this is spread across 3 km. The Rs 922 crore new Parliament building is being built by the CPWD. It will have a maximum height of 42 metre, spread over 65,000 square metre of built-up area on a 10.5 acre or 42,031 square metre plot, which will be built by demolishing close to 5,200 square metre of the existing structure.
The Parliament building, which has been designed by a Gujarat-based architectural company, HCP Design, Planning and Management, will have two separate Houses—the Lok Sabha, the Rajya Sabha and an open courtyard around which will be constructed a lounge for Members of Parliament. Presently, this activity is generally done at the Central Hall of Parliament, although the Central Hall was not developed for this purpose, but over the years, it has been used by MPs to meet their colleagues.
According to the new plan, each bench of the new Parliament would seat two members and each bench would also have a desk where members can place their files, notepads, laptops or iPads, unlike the current Parliament where only the first two rows have such an arrangement.
The building is also likely to have offices for each Member of Parliament along the periphery of the building. Presently, all Members of Parliament do not have an office for themselves in the Parliament complex. Interestingly, the shape of the new building is triangular, since this geometric form is considered sacred in all religions. The building would also have windows, but each window in the entire complex would be different from each other in sizes and this, according to the developers, is being done to represent the diversity of the country.
The new Parliament House would also be fitted with the newest and the latest technology which would manage the acoustics inside the House, so that each member is able to hear each other clearly during a discussion or debate. A hi-tech language translation system is also likely to be put in place in the new building.
According to Ministry sources, the roof of the new Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha is already completed, the seating area has already been designed and the layout completed, the corridor of the new Parliament building is also complete and electrical works are underway. So far, the construction of the new Parliament building has used 24,900 MT of steel, 60,438 MT of cement and 8.441 cubic metre of fly ash.