The Lok Sabha Secretariat has informed the union urban development ministry that it proposes the construction of a new Parliament House. Once the new building is ready,the iconic existing building will be used only for special functions.
Urban Development Secretary Sudhir Krishna confirmed that the ministry had received a letter in this regard. We have got a letter for construction of a new Parliament premises from the Lok Sabha Secretariat and we are examining the matter, Krishna told The Indian Express.
T K Viswanathan,Secretary General of Lok Sabha,said public opinion and participation will be sought in the matter,and a committee for this purpose will be formed by Speaker Meira Kumar. Views will also be sought from experts. The speaker is looking into the composition of this committee. It will be announced shortly. The committee will ensure public participation in the exercise of a proposal for a new Parliament building. Public participation is required since the new building will be a symbol for the new generation. It will blend with the existing structure. A new building is needed,keeping in mind the requirements of the next 20 years, Viswanathan said.
He said this would require long-term planning which would be done by the Central Public Works Department. The present Parliament building can be used for special occasions as is done in Westminster Hall, he said.
The 85-year-old Parliament building has been showing signs of distress,according to the CPWD which is responsible for its maintenance.
Viswanathan agrees. This building was constructed in 1927. New structures have come up,air-conditioning has been installed. Moreover,no one anticipated that so many people would be housed in the building. There are several offices of parties and committees here. We also have television channels,more cables running through the building.
The foundation stone of the building was laid in 1921 and it was inaugurated on January 18,1927.
We realise that this is a Grade I heritage building and we are doing everything in our power to conserve it. No addition and alteration is allowed. The canteen was shut down because of the safety hazard posed by (cooking gas) cylinders kept there, Viswanathan said.
Attempts are being made to remove encroachments. The building has not been given clearance by the Delhi Fire Service. We are constantly monitoring removal of encroachments and are trying to remove blockages at entry and exit points, he said.