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NEW SANSAD NEW TRYST WITH DESTINY
In its 75th year of Independence, India witnessed a historic moment with the inauguration of the new Parliament House on Sunday by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. After using a Parliament building that is nearly a century old and symbolised a colonial era, we finally have a new structure in independent India. It reflects the vision and aspirations of a country that has evolved significantly since 1947. Some people may be misled by the idea that this is a new Parliament set up. But the new building will be another extension of the existing Parliament complex to signify the spirit of change and continuity; the journey of our Parliament from what it was yesterday to what it would be in the future. The old building gave direction to independent India, while the new one will witness the making of India as ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’.
The main Parliament House, inaugurated in 1927, consists of the circular-shaped structure which is visible from the outside. Two more floors were added to this building in 1956 to accommodate more staff and other offices. The need for yet more office space led to the construction of the Parliament Annexe in 1975. In 2002, the Parliament Library was added to the complex. For similar reasons, an extension of the Parliament Annexe was constructed in 2016. Despite these new constructions in the Parliament complex to suit administrative needs, the need for modern facilities in the main Parliament House remained unfulfilled.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi was right – when he said on Sunday that Parliament is not just a building but a reflection of the aspirations and dreams of 140 crore Indians. That it is the sacred space where democracy gets to work, where elected representatives of the nation’s children, women and men, make laws that will make India walk more strongly on the path of justice, dignity and truth. That’s why as the new Parliament is dedicated to the nation by the PM, we, in the Congress, decided to stay away — our absence is our democratic response to the yawning gap between what the PM says and what he does.
THE VIEWS EXPRESSED BY THE AUTHOR ARE PERSONAL
HERE IS OUR NEW PARLIAMENT, AND WHY IT IS NEEDED
The government previously informed the Parliament that the current building was showing signs of distress and overutilisation, which necessitated the construction of the new building.
- DISTRESSED INFRASTRUCTURE: The existing building has faced various issues with services such as water supply lines, sewer lines, air conditioning, fi re-fi ghting systems, CCTV, and audio-video systems. These additional installations were not part of the original plan, leading to see pages and damage to building’s appearance.
- FIRE SAFETY CONCERNS: The current building does not meet the latest fire safety standards. The installation of numerous new electric cables poses a potential fire hazard.
- OBSOLETE COMMUNICATION STRUCTURES: The old Parliament House has outdated communication infrastructure and technology. The acoustics in all halls need an upgrade.
- SAFETY CONCERNS: There have also been concerns about the structural safety of the building. It was constructed when Delhi was classifi ed as Seismic Zone-II, but it now falls under Seismic Zone-IV, which poses a higher risk during earthquakes.
- INADEQUATE WORKSPACE: The demand for workspaces has increased over time, leading to the conversion of inner service corridors into offi ces. Quality of workspaces has suffered, resulting in narrow and cramped areas.
- NARROW SEATING FOR MPs: The present building was not originally designed to accommodate a bicameral legislature. The seating arrangements are cramped, with Central Hall having a seating capacity of only 440 persons, which can be problematic during Joint Sessions. The limited space for movement can also pose security risks.
A TIMELINE OF PARLIAMENT HOUSE
FEB 12, 1921 Foundation stone was laid for Parliament House, then called the Council House, by the Duke of Connaught
JAN 18, 1927 Parliament inaugurated by then Governor General Lord Irwin
JAN 19, 1927 First meeting of the third session of the Central Legislative Assembly held in Parliament House
DEC 9, 1946 First sitting of Constituent Assembly
AUG 14/15, 1947 Transfer of power at midnight session of Constituent Assembly
MAY 13, 1952 First sitting of both Houses
AUG 3, 1970 Then President VV Giri lays the foundation stone of the Parliament Annexe
OCT 24, 1975 Then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi inaugurates Parliament Annexe
AUG 15, 1987 Then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi lays the foundation stone of the Parliament Library
MAY 7, 2002 Then President KR Narayanan inaugurates the Parliament Library building
MAY 5, 2009 Then Vice-President Mohammad Hamid Ansari and then Speaker Somnath Chatterjee lay the foundation stone of the extension of the Parliament Annexe
JULY 31, 2017 Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurates Parliament Annexe extension
AUG 5, 2019 Then Vice-President and Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu and Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla present a proposal for a modern Parliament building
DEC 10, 2020 Prime Minister Narendra Modi lays the foundation stone of the new Parliament building
MAY 28, 2023 Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurates a new Parliament building
RAJASTHAN’S STONE, MIRZAPUR’S CARPET, TRIPURA’S FLOORING
With carpets from Mirzapur in Uttar Pradesh, bamboo flooring from Tripura and stone carvings from Rajasthan, the new Parliament building, inaugurated by PM Modi, reflects India’s diverse culture. The Kesharia green stone has been procured from Udaipur, the red granite from Lakha near Ajmer and the white marble has been sourced from Ambaji in Rajasthan.
900 U.P. ARTISANS MADE CARPET FOR “10 LAKH HOURS”
Premium hand-knotted carpets weaved laboriously by as many as 900 artisans from UP for a whopping “10 lakh man-hours” adorn the floors of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha in the new Parliament building.