10:40 GMT18 January 2021
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    73 years after India won independence from Britain, the leaders of the country are moving in the direction of erasing the memories of the colonial era. In March 2020, the Indian government allocated $2.6 billion to “Indianise” the architecturally significant “Central Vista” region in Delhi, which includes the parliament building.

    Laying the foundation stone of the new parliament building, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday officially kickstarted the mega renovation project of the iconic Central Vista, or Rajpath area, located in the heart of Delhi. Along with the colonial-era existing parliament building, the area also includes the president’s residence, Rashtrapati Bhavan.

    The region is also known as as "Lutyens", taking after the name of British architect Sir Edwin Lutyens who designed it for around $110,000 back in 1921-1927. 

    In a bid to add the touch of a developed and “self-reliant” India 73 years after gaining independence, the new parliament building will “showcase the cultural diversity of the country”, as Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla told the media earlier, while talking about the project.

    What Exactly is in the Making?

    Back in September this year, one of India’s top construction firms – Tata Projects Limited – bagged the bid to build the new parliament house in central Delhi – close to the existing building and spanning over an area of 64,500 square metres.

    Just like the present structure, the upcoming parliament building will also flaunt a grand Constitution Hall, a lounge for parliamentarians, a well-stocked library, along with several dining and committee rooms. The interiors of the new building will showcase the rich heritage of the country.,

    A major noteworthy change in the new building will be larger chambers for India’s Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha – keeping in line with late former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s prediction that a growing democracy like India will require a growing number of representatives.

    Hence, in the new building, the Lok Sabha chamber will have seating capacity for 888 members – with an option to stretch the number of seats to 1,224. Similarly, the Rajya Sabha chamber will have 384 seats.

    In the present building, the Lok Sabha has 543 seats and the Rajya Sabha has 245 seats only.

    ​What Will Happen to the Lutyens-Designed Structure?

    The monumental building, which is a gigantic circular establishment – 560 feet in diameter – will be turned into an archaeological asset of the country.

    Lutyens’ creation, which boasts 12 grand gates, will also be used as an extension of the new parliament building and its rooms and halls will be used for events and meetings as per requirement. 

    ​The Public is Divided in Its Opinion

    Ever since talks around re-developing Delhi’s fancy Central Vista region began last year, Indians have been divided over the idea of investing in something that does not need a revamp amid the current economic, social, and health crisis India is struggling to cope with.

    In August, talking to Sputnik, history expert Mamta Chansoria said that even though a British architect designed it, the existing building was constructed brick-by-brick by hard-working Indians labourers only.

    In recent months, several petitions also circulated on social media asking for signatures against pouring so much money into a new parliament building.

    ​While several people have opposed the Modi government’s mega renovation project, many others have supported it.

    ​In the presence of Cabinet ministers and ambassadors of foreign nations, PM Modi will lay down the foundation stone of the new parliament building today.

    The construction of the building is expected to be completed by 2022.

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    Sputnik News, Sputnik, parliament, parliament, parliament, parliament, Parliament, buildings, building, Narendra Modi, Narendra Modi, New Delhi, Delhi, Indians, India
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