Exploring the New Parliament: 20 Essential Facts to Know

Exploring the New Parliament: 20 Essential Facts to Know

 

  1. The triangular shape of the new building is a direct result of the plot of land it occupies, which happens to be a triangle. Architect Bimal Patel has incorporated this unique geometry not only as a reflection of the land’s layout but also as a symbolic reference to the sacred geometry found in various religious traditions. Furthermore, the design and materials chosen for the new building are intentionally harmonious with the old Parliament, allowing the two structures to seamlessly function as a unified complex.

 

  1.  The new Parliament building consists of three floors and covers an area of 64,500 square meters. The Lok Sabha chamber within the building will accommodate 888 seats, an increase from the previous 543 seats, and can be expanded further to accommodate up to 1,272 seats if needed. In the absence of a Central Hall, which played a central role in the old building, the Lok Sabha will serve as the venue for joint sessions of both Houses.

 

  1.  The Rajya Sabha chamber in the new Parliament building can accommodate 384 Members of Parliament (MPs), an increase from the previous capacity of 250. This expansion in capacity is intended to accommodate any future increase in the number of MPs due to delimitation.

 

  1. The new building features three ceremonial entrances on different sides, designated for the President, Vice-President, Lok Sabha Speaker, and Prime Minister. The entrance for the public, including visitors on Parliament tours, is located on Parliament Street near the Press Trust of India building. Throughout the construction period, a temporary reception area has been operational there.

 

  1. Employing environmentally friendly construction techniques, the new building aims to reduce electricity consumption by 30% compared to the old one. It includes rainwater harvesting and water recycling systems. Designed for enhanced space efficiency, the building is intended to remain functional for the next 150 years, as stated by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs.

 

  1. To ensure earthquake safety in compliance with building codes, the new Parliament building has been engineered to withstand seismic activity. The government had previously expressed concerns about the old Parliament Building’s vulnerability to earthquakes while defending the project against legal challenges.

 

  1. The new Lok Sabha chamber is themed around peacocks, featuring wall and ceiling carvings inspired by the feathers of India’s national bird. Complemented by teal-coloured carpets, the Rajya Sabha chamber is adorned with the lotus motif. In both chambers, each bench accommodates two MPs, and individual touch screens are provided on the desks.

 

  1. A dedicated Constitution Hall is included in the new building, showcasing the documented journey of Indian democracy.

 

  1. MPs will have access to amenities such as a lounge, dining hall, and library. The building opens up to a central courtyard with a banyan tree.

 

  1. The new building incorporates six additional committee rooms compared to the old building, along with 92 office rooms for the Council of Ministers.

 

  1. Construction materials for the interior and exterior of the building have been sourced from various locations across India. For instance, sandstone from Sarmathura in Dholpur and granite from Lakha village in Jaisalmer, Rajasthan have been used. Wooden decor elements originate from Nagpur, and the design work has been led by craftsmen from Mumbai. Traditional hand-knotted carpets for the building have been crafted by Bhadohi weavers from Uttar Pradesh.

 

  1. The 16-foot-tall bronze statue of Mahatma Gandhi, originally installed at the main entrance of the Parliament in 1993, remains on the lawn between the old and new buildings. Sculpted by Padma Bhushan-awardee artist Ram V Sutar, the statue now faces the old building near the entrance used by the Lok Sabha Speaker. The statue has been a site of numerous protests, gatherings by MPs, and photo opportunities for students.

 

  1. The building incorporates national symbols, including the 9,500 kg Lion Capital of Ashoka, the national emblem, standing at a height of 6.5 meters. The Ashoka Chakra and the phrase ‘Satyameva Jayate’ are carved in stone at the entrance. A structure weighing 6,500 kg has been constructed in the central foyer to support the massive bronze sculpture.

 

  1. The exact cost of the new Parliament building remains undisclosed. The initial contract was awarded to Tata Projects for INR 861.9 crore, but by the time the project commenced, the cost had escalated to INR 971 crore. Government officials have indicated that the cost has further risen to INR 1,200 crore, which includes INR 200 crore allocated for artwork procured by the Culture Ministry. The final completion cost is yet to be announced.

 

  1. A golden sceptre, presented to Jawaharlal Nehru on the eve of Independence to commemorate the transfer of power from the British, will be displayed in the new Lok Sabha chamber near the Speaker’s podium. The sceptre was gifted to him by priests from Tamil Nadu.

 

  1. Emphasizing an environmentally friendly approach, all records such as House proceedings, questions, and other business are being digitized. Additionally, the use of tablets and iPads will become common.

 

  1. The building will house a gallery named ‘Shilp’ exhibiting textile installations from various regions of India, along with pottery made from clay sourced from each Indian state. Another gallery called ‘Sthapatya’ will showcase iconic monuments from different states and union territories, incorporating yoga asanas as well.

 

  1. At the entrances of the building, guardian statues of auspicious animals, including elephants, horses, eagles, swans, and mythical creatures like shardula and makara, will be displayed based on their significance in Indian culture and Vastu Shastra.

 

  1. The contributions of approximately 60,000 workers, both on-site and in various locations across the country, can be witnessed in the new building. Given that construction occurred during the pandemic, health clinics and vaccination camps were organized for the workers at the construction site and labor camps.

 

  1. Prior to being chosen as the site for the new Parliament building, the 9.5-acre plot opposite the old Parliament House was designated for “recreational use” in the Delhi Masterplan 2021. However, instead of being developed as a park, the site was utilized for parking and housing utilities for the Parliament complex. In March 2020, the Delhi Development Authority changed the land-use classification to “Parliament House.”
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