Lotus, peacock motifs to adorn new Parliament building

Indian Parliament’s new building, to which it is expected to move in 2022, will come not just with more space and facilities but also a distinctly Indian touch, built around symbols associated with the country. There are plans to incorporate the peacock and the lotus, India’s national bird and flower, into motifs and murals, and the complex will have a real banyan tree (the country’s national tree), said officials familiar with the matter who asked not to be named.

The existing circular building, completed in 1927, is most famous for its 144 columns but it too has some recognisable Indian touches. The use of fountains both inside and outside the building, Indian-style balconies and marble lattice screens.

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The new building, to be constructed right in front of the existing one, will use the motifs in a contemporary way, the officials said. “One House will have lotus motifs while the other House will see peacock inspired bas-relief. There will be no Central Hall but a central lounge will be available to MPs for socialising,” said one of the officials.

The construction of a new Parliament building is part of the larger Central Vista development plan the NDA government has embarked on, which will see the construction of a new secretariat to house government offices, and of new residences for the Prime Minister and the Vice-President. The current Parliament building is inadequate to allow for any expansion in the size of the houses — an exercise that is expected to begin around 2025-26 so as to make the houses more representative.

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The cost of the Central Vista project is projected to be Rs 20,000 crore, with the Parliament building estimated to cost Rs 861 crore. The entire project is scheduled to be completed by 2024, while the new Parliament building is expected to be constructed by 2022. The new Parliament building will also have around 90 offices to accommodate all ministers. “There will be several dining halls including an exclusive dining hall for MPs and another one for VVIPs,” said an official. But before the new edifice gets functional, the existing Parliament complex will see some key changes. The Gandhi statue in front of the main gate — the favourite spot for Opposition MPs to protest — will be temporarily shifted as it falls right in the middle of the construction site. Similarly, two other statues — those of Motilal Nehru and Devi Lal — will be temporarily relocated to make space for construction, officials said.

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