New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday laid the foundation stone of a new Parliament building in the Parliament House complex, hailing it as a symbol of self-reliance that will fulfil the aspirations of 21st century India.
The present Sansad Bhavan was built by the Britishers and was intended to house their Imperial Legislative Council;
The new building will be built by Indians and symbolise the vibrant notion of Indianness, PM Modi underlined.
He added the new building will enhance the efficiency of the Parliamentarians as it will be equipped with many modern amenities.
The construction of the new building was, however, stayed by the Supreme Court early this week along with the Central Vista project, pending its verdict on the petitions challenging the project.
Addressing the gathering, Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla said that the existing Sansad Bhavan did not have scope of further structural expansion which necessitated construction of a new building.
The new building is being constructed at a cost of Rs 971 crore, which will have more committee rooms and also earmark space for political parties’ offices. It will also have a room for each MP unlike only ministers having their rooms in the Sansad Bhavan.
Once it is built, the present Parliament House will be turned into a museum.
The new Parliament Building will be modern, state-of-the-art and energy efficient, with highly non-obtrusive security facilities; it is envisaged to be a triangular shaped structure, adjacent to the present Parliament.
The Lok Sabha in the new House will be three times the existing size; the Rajya Sabha will also be substantially bigger. The interiors of the new building will showcase a rich blend of Indian culture and diversity of regional arts, crafts, textiles and architecture.
Former Union Minister and senior Congress leader P Chidambaram on Thursday tweeted: "The foundation for a new Parliament building was laid on the ruins of a liberal democracy."
He also commented on Niti Aayog chief Amitabh Kant's remark that too much democracy in India was making tough reforms hard to implement. "There is too much democracy, laments a senior bureaucrat. There is too much bureaucracy, says an anguished democrat."