Parliament staff, caterers to be consulted for new Parliament complex plan
The Parliament staff, including caterers, will be consulted to get inputs for the redevelopment of the existing Parliament complex and the construction of the new proposed complex as part of the Central Vista revamp plan. The Parliament, at present, has total staff strength of about 6,000 employees, including security personnel.
“We have asked for three, separate consultation sessions with the staff, caterers and MPs in the Parliament sometime next week; we will have an open session with anyone who wants to give their inputs. The staff has the knowledge about the intricacies of the buildings, which will come in handy,” said Bimal Patel, the architect in charge of the redesign of Central Vista.
In August 2019, the Lok Sabha Speaker and the Rajya Sabha chairman urged the government to expand and modernise the colonial-era Parliament building. Both the Chairs pointed out that the Parliament building was 92 years old and needed urgent repairs.
Last year, the Centre had also held consultation sessions for the new complex with the presiding officers of the Lower and the Upper houses—Om Birla and Venkaiah Naidu. But, the plan to construct a new complex came under criticism over lack of consultation from opposition parties.
The Hindustan Times, on January 19, had reported a new Lok Sabha central hall big enough to house 900 Members of Parliament (MPs), and flexible enough to house up to 1,350 MPs for a joint Parliament session. This will be the centrepiece of the Central Vista redevelopment plan that has a deadline of 2024.
The new Parliament complex, which has an earlier deadline of 2022, will be among the first plans to be finalised and tendered out, perhaps in the first half of this year itself.
The current design of an evolving plan envisages a triangular complex, with a tricoloured beam lighting up the sky overhead. At a more mundane level, the MPs will be able to sit comfortably in broad two-seater benches, accessible from either side so that no one will have to squeeze through and even accommodate three MPs when a joint session is held.
“We are targeting to start construction by around August this year as we have a deadline to meet. We are confident of meeting the 2022 deadline,” Patel said.
According to presentations made by the Ahmedabad-based HCP Design—the agency selected to carry out the works—the new triangular Parliament building will come up next to the existing complex, the Indira Gandhi National Centre of Arts (IGNCA) will be relocated and some of the new government buildings will come up in its place, and the National Archives will be remodelled. The Prime Minister’s residence will be shifted behind the existing South Block complex, while the residence of the Vice-President will move behind the North Block.
The redevelopment will also see the North and South blocks, which house ministries, becoming national museums while the present national museum building will be demolished. A new central secretariat will come up and the Rajpath will be redesigned.
First of the blocks to come up will be the new Parliament complex and the government offices at the IGNCA. The former will come up on 13 acres within the existing Parliament complex and it will be much bigger than the current one, as the existing Lok Sabha hall simply can’t accommodate any more MPs.
A chamber for MPs’ offices is also planned next to the Parliament complex where the Transport Bhawan is situated at present; the latter will be demolished.