20 Things You Must Know about India’s New Parliament
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20 Things You Must Know about India’s New Parliament

From increased seating capacity to peacock-themed interiors, the design brings together the ancient and the modern. Here’s a look at India’s new Parliament building.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will on Sunday, May 28, inaugurate India’s new Parliament building, part of the revamped Central Vista project. The construction of the new building, designed by architect Bimal Patel, began in 2019.

  1. The triangular shapeThe new building is triangular in shape, mostly because the plot of land that it is built on is a triangle. According to architect Bimal Patel, the shape is also a nod to the sacred geometry in different religions. Its design and materials are meant to complement the old Parliament, with the two buildings expected to function as one complex.
  2. Built-up areaThe new Parliament building has three storeys and a built-up area of 64,500 sqm. The Lok Sabha chamber will have 888 seats, up from the existing 543, with the option of expanded seating up to 1,272. The Lok Sabha will be used for joint sittings of both Houses in the absence of a Central Hall, which was the fulcrum of the old building.
  3. The entrancesThe building has three ceremonial entrances on three sides for the President, the Vice-President, the Lok Sabha Speaker and the Prime Minister. The entrance for the public, including visitors for the Parliament tour, is likely to be on Parliament Street, near the Press Trust of India building, where a temporary reception has been functioning throughout the construction period.
  4. Environment friendlyBuilt using green construction techniques, the new building is supposed to reduce electricity consumption by 30 per cent, compared to the old one. Rainwater-harvesting and water-recycling systems have been included. It has been designed to be more space efficient, and meant to function for the next 150 years, according to the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs.
  5. As per building codes, since Delhi is in seismic zone-V, the building is primed to be earthquake-safe. While arguing against the legal challenges to the project, the government had said the existing Parliament building was at risk from earthquakes.
  6. Lok SabhaThe new Lok Sabha chamber has a peacock theme, with designs drawn from the national bird’s feathers carved on the walls and ceiling, complemented by teal carpets. The Rajya Sabha chamber has been decorated with the lotus as its theme, with red carpets. In both the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha, two MPs will be able to sit on one bench and each MP will have a touch screen on the desk.
  7. Rajya SabhaThe Rajya Sabha chamber can accommodate 384 Members of Parliament (MPs), as opposed to the existing capacity of 250. The increased capacity of both chambers is meant to cater to any future increase in the number of MPs following delimitation.
  8. Constitution hallThe new building has a Constitution Hall, where the journey of Indian democracy has been documented.
  9. Facilities for MPsMPs will have access to a lounge, dining hall and library. The building opens into a central courtyard with a banyan tree.
  10. Office SpaceThere are six new committee rooms in the new building, as opposed to three in the old building. In addition, there are 92 rooms as offices for the Council of Ministers.
  11. Material from across IndiaFor the interior and exterior of the building, construction materials have been brought in from across the country, including sandstone from Sarmathura in Dholpur and granite from Lakha village in Jaisalmer, Rajasthan. Similarly, the wood used in the decor is from Nagpur and craftsmen from Mumbai have led the wooden architecture design. Bhadohi weavers from Uttar Pradesh have made the traditional hand-knotted carpets for the building.
  12. Gandhi statueThe 16-foot-tall bronze statue of Mahatma Gandhi, which has been the site of numerous protests and gatherings by MPs and photo-ops for students, will remain on the lawn between the old and new buildings. The statue, which was installed at the main entrance of the Parliament in 1993, was shifted during construction. Made by Padma Bhushan-awardee sculptor Ram V Sutar, the statue now faces the old building, near the entrance used by the Lok Sabha Speaker.
  13. National symbolsThe building is replete with national symbols, including the national emblem — the Lion Capital of Ashoka — that weighs 9,500 kg and is 6.5 metres in height, and is visible from a distance. To support this massive bronze sculpture, a structure of 6,500 kg was constructed on top of the central foyer. At the entrance, the Ashoka chakra and the words ‘Satyameva Jayate’ have been carved in stone.
  14. The cost of building itThe cost of the new Parliament, however, remains unknown. The initial contract was given for Rs 861.9 crore to Tata Projects, but by the time the project started the cost revved up to Rs 971 crore. Since then, government officials say the cost has gone up to Rs 1,200 crore. This includes Rs 200 crore for the artwork procured by the Culture Ministry. The government is yet to announce the final completion cost.
  15. Golden sceptreA golden sceptre, given to Jawaharlal Nehru on the eve of Independence to mark the transfer of power from the British, will sit in the new Lok Sabha chamber, near the Speaker’s podium. This sceptre was given to him by priests from Tamil Nadu.
  16. Going digitalIn line with the environment-friendly focus of the new Parliament, all records — House proceedings, questions and other business — are being digitised. Besides, tablets and iPads will become a norm.
  17. Galleries in the buildingA gallery called ‘Shilp’ will exhibit textile installations from across India, along with pottery items made from the mitti of all Indian states. The gallery ‘Sthapatya’ will exhibit the iconic monuments of India, including those from the different states and UTs. Besides monuments, it also amalgamates yoga asanas.
  18. Vaastu shastraAt all the entrances of the building, auspicious animals as guardian statues will be exhibited, based on their importance in Indian culture and vaastu shastra. These include the elephant, the horse, the eagle, the swan, and mythical creatures shardula and makara.
  19. Recognising the workforceThe contributions of around 60,000 workers — on-site and in various locations across the country — can be seen in the new building. Since the building was constructed during the pandemic, health clinics and vaccination camps were organised for the workers at the site and labour camps.
  20. From recreational to a new HouseBefore being selected as the site for the new Parliament building, the 9.5-acre plot opposite the old Parliament House was earmarked for “recreational use” in the Delhi Masterplan 2021. While it was supposed to be developed as a park, in reality the site was used for parking and to house utilities for the Parliament complex. The Delhi Development Authority changed the land-use of the plot to “Parliament House” in March 2020.

Source : Indian Express