New Delhi : A proposal has been mooted for constructing another Parliament building with Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan saying the existing 88-year-old structure is showing signs of “distress” because of ageing and will no longer be able to meet the growing demand for space.
She has, in fact, proposed two options for the alternative site — one within the Parliament complex itself and another across the Rajpath, a place where some defence and Delhi Police security barracks are situated.
Mahajan has written a letter to Urban Development Minister M Venkaiah Naidu asking him to consider initiating action for construction of a new Parliament building.
To justify the need for a new Parliament building, she has argued that when the present structure was commissioned in 1927, the number of staff, security personnel, media visitors and parliamentary activities were limited but over the years, the parliamentary activities and number of people working there and visitors have increased manifold.
“On account of ageing of the Parliament House building and expansion in activities, staff etc, the building has shown signs of distress and over utilization,” she has said in her letter to Naidu, while noting that the present structure is already 88 years old.
The Speaker has said that initially the building was intended only for the Members of Parliament and the Secretariat staff.
But, with the expanding scope of Parliamentary oversight functions, increase in number of committees and security requirements, the demand for space has increased several times, she has underlined.
Since the building has been declared as ‘Heritage
Grade-I’ structure, there are several limitations on the structural repairs, additions, alterations and modifications to it, the Speaker has said.
Mahajan has said the number of seats in the Lok Sabha is likely to go up after 2026 “in accordance with the provisions of the explanation to clause (3) Article 81 of the Constitution” while the present seating capacity of the House is 550 without any scope for increasing it any further.
“Even if the Central Hall of the Parliament House, which presently has seating capacity of 398, were to be converted into the Lok Sabha Chamber, it would not be in a position to accommodate more than 550 members,” she wrote.
The Speaker said there are also plans, keeping in view the technological advancements, to equip the MPs with latest gadgets to enable them to make the best possible use of technological tools available and to make Parliament paperless.
“This would also require re-designing and refurbishing of the sitting arrangements in the Lok Sabha Chamber. Whereas there are limitations to this in the present sitting arrangements in the Chamber, a new building will offer better scope for a modern Parliament building equipped qith latest technological tools,” she said.
“Under the circumstances, there is an imperative need for the construction of a new state-of-art Parliament building,” the Speaker wrote.
One option for construction of the new Parliament Building would be within the complex itself which would require relocation of certain facilities and services, she said.
The second option could be the other side of Rajpath, which is “suitably large area and would enable a free design of a new Parliament House building”, Mahajan said.
She suggested that an underground link beneath the Rajpath the two complexes may be constructed to provide connectivity between the existing building and the proposed new complex.