Parliament of India
Parliament of India

New Delhi: A new Parliament building having offices of ministers and MPs that may be constructed next to the over 90-year-old structure is one of the options being considered by the government, Union Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said on Wednesday.

Puri, however, said the final decision will be taken only after designs are submitted by architecture firms. "Our experts will shortlist ideas and then somebody will take a political call," Puri told reporters on the sidelines of an event.

One of the options that is being considered is the chambers of the two Houses of Parliament will be revamped to accommodate more MPs. According to an official, the strength of Parliament may increase after a possible delimitation exercise.

The Narendra Modi government had last week unveiled its mega plan to redevelop the over 3-km stretch from Rashtrapati Bhavan to India Gate in Lutyens' Delhi.

The government on September 2 floated a request for proposal for the "development or redevelopment of Parliament Building, Common Central Secretariat and Central Vista."

Addressing the event here on the theme of 'Emerging trends in public architecture', Puri said a reputed architect recently wrote to him, alleging that the government is going to "destroy" the Parliament building.

"Who said we will destroy Parliament?" the minister asked and explained the government has reached a stage of just inviting ideas from architecture firms for the ambitious project.

He said the British ruled India for 190 years and they had good architects who built buildings which is now part of the country's cultural heritage.

"North and South Blocks should be made museums that reflect 190 years (of British rule)...What will happen to the Parliament building? We will construct a new building which will connect Parliament through an underground pathway," Puri said.

He later told reporters that there may be a possibility that the existing Parliament building will remain the same, and offices of ministers and MPs will be in a new building.

About the redevelopment plan of Central Vista, he said the buildings that had been built in 1960s and 70s should have been torn down many years ago. "Something went wrong there," Puri said.

Using cricket terms to take a dig at earlier governments, he said, "Either we (CPWD under previous governments) lowered the standard or we took eyes off the ball. We wanted to spin the ball but something else happened and in the process it was a hit-wicket."

He said that the Central Public Works Department was set up in the 1850s and the buildings constructed along the Central Vista reflected the colonial ethos.

"I am not going to say anything good or bad. I am saying that the colonial ethos in terms of its reflection of architecture was very positive in many ways, but it reflected the technology and the understanding of what was the environment of that period," he said.

At event, Puri said 70 per cent of India has to be rebuilt by 2030 CPWD Director General Prabhakar Singh said around 28 bidders have shown interest in executing the government's mega plan.

On Monday, the CPWD reduced the earnest money from Rs 50 lakh to Rs 25 lakh for submitting the bid for redevelopment plan for Central Vista and Parliament building owing to concerns raised by architects who participated in a pre-bid meeting last week.

The development or redevelopment of Parliament will be done by August 2022. By next year, the Central Vista will be redeveloped and the common Central Secretariat will be built by 2024.

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