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Stage set for inauguration of new Parliament building by PM Sunday

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New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will on Sunday inaugurate the new Parliament building, equipped with state-of-the-art technology, amid a boycott by several Opposition parties which insist that President Droupadi Murmu as head of the state should do the honours.

On Friday, Modi said the new Parliament building will make every Indian proud and shared a video of the new complex.

With carpets from Mirzapur in Uttar Pradesh, bamboo flooring from Tripura and stone carvings from Rajasthan, the new Parliament building reflects India’s diverse culture.

‘Sengol’, a historical sceptre from Tamil Nadu which was received by first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru “to represent transfer of power” from the British and was kept in a museum in Allahabad, will be installed in the new Parliament building.

It will be placed near the chair of Lok Sabha Speaker in the House chamber.

But amid a boycott by 20 opposition parties of the inauguration ceremony, the Sengol too was dragged into the political row.

Congress leader Jairam Ramesh on Friday claimed there was no documented evidence of Lord Mountbatten, C Rajagopalachari and Nehru describing the Sengol as a symbol of transfer of power by the British to India.

The Congress’ stand on the Sengol evoked a strong reaction from Home Minister Amit Shah who said the party needs to “reflect” on its behaviour as he denounced its claim that there was no evidence of the Sengol being a symbol of transfer of power by the British to India in 1947.

To mark the event, the government will issue a commemorative Rs 75 coin. According to a gazette notification by the Department of Economic Affairs under the finance ministry, the weight of this coin could be 34.65-35.35 gram.

One side of the coin will bear the image of the Lion Capital of Ashoka Pillar in the centre flanked by the word ‘Bharat’ in Devanagari script and ‘INDIA’ in English, it said. Rupee symbol ‘₹’ and denominational value ’75’ in international numerals will also be inscribed below the Lion Capital.

The other side of the coin shall bear the image of Parliament Complex, and the year ‘2023’ in international numeral below the image.

The new Parliament building, constructed by Tata Projects Ltd, will have a grand constitution hall to showcase India’s democratic heritage, a lounge for MPs, a library, multiple committee rooms, dining areas and ample parking space.

The triangular-shaped four-storey building has a built-up area of 64,500 square metres. 

The building has three main gates — Gyan Dwar, Shakti Dwar, and Karma Dwar.

It will have separate entrances for VIPs, MPs, and visitors.

The material used for the new building has been acquired from various parts of the country.

The teakwood used in the building was sourced from Nagpur in Maharashtra, while the red and white sandstone was procured from Sarmathura in Rajasthan. The sandstone for the Red Fort and Humayun’s Tomb in the national capital was also known to have sourced from Sarmathura.

The Kesharia green stone has been procured from Udaipur, the red granite from Lakha near Ajmer and the white marble has been sourced from Ambaji in Rajasthan.

“In a way, the entire country came together to construct the temple of democracy, thus reflecting the true spirit of Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat,” an official said.

The steel structure for the false ceilings in the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha chambers have been sourced from the union territory of Daman and Diu, while the furniture in the new building was crafted in Mumbai.

The stone ‘jaali’ (lattice) works dotting the building were sourced from Rajnagar in Rajasthan and Noida in Uttar Pradesh. 

The materials for the Ashoka Emblem were sourced from Aurangabad in Maharashtra and Jaipur in Rajasthan, while the Ashok Chakra donning the massive walls of the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha chambers and the exteriors of the parliament building were procured from Indore in Madhya Pradesh.

The new parliament building used manufactured sand or M-sand from Charkhi Dadri in Haryana for creating concrete mix for the construction activities.

M-Sand is considered environment friendly as it is manufactured by crushing large hard stones or granite and not by dredging of river beds.

The fly ash bricks used in the construction were sourced from Haryana and Uttar Pradesh, while brass works and pre-cast trenches were from Ahmedabad in Gujarat.

The new Parliament building can comfortably seat 888 members in the Lok Sabha chamber and 300 in the Rajya Sabha chamber.

In case of a joint sitting of both the Houses, a total of 1,280 members can be accommodated in the Lok Sabha chamber.

The prime minister had laid the foundation stone of the new parliament building on December 10, 2020.

The present Parliament building was completed in 1927, and is now 96 years old.

Over the years, the old building was found to be inadequate for present day requirements.

Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha had passed resolutions urging the government to construct a new building for Parliament. 

The existing building served as independent India’s first Parliament and witnessed the adoption of the Constitution. 

Originally called the Council House, the building housed the Imperial Legislative Council. The Parliament building witnessed the addition of two floors in 1956 to address the demand for more space. 

In 2006, the Parliament Museum was added to showcase the 2,500 years of rich democratic heritage of India. 

Officials said the present building was never designed to accommodate a bicameral legislature and the seating arrangements were cramped and cumbersome, with no desks beyond the second row. 

The Central Hall has seating capacity only for 440 people and the need for more space was acutely felt during joint sittings of both the houses.


Heritage parliament building witness to India story

New Delhi, May 27 (PTI) The grand old Parliament, witness to the India story as it unfolded since 1927, is set to fade into pages of history as Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurates the new building on Sunday.

From the first steps towards self-rule to the dawn of Independence, and the country’s emergence as a nuclear power and beyond, the grand old Parliament building has been a constant in the country’s journey for almost a century. 

The hallowed precincts of Parliament have witnessed lively debates on the making of Constitution, the poignant scenes after the announcement of the death of Mahatma Gandhi and the thumping of desks when the then prime minister Indira Gandhi announced the unconditional surrender of Pakistan forces in Bangladesh.

The heartfelt speeches of first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru, the calm but firm resolve of Lal Bahadur Shastri, the eloquence of Indira Gandhi, the poetic brilliance of Atal Bihari Vajpayee and the powerful oratory of Narendra Modi have reverberated through the chambers of Parliament.

The foundation stone of the colonnaded building was laid by Prince Arthur, the Duke of Connaught in 1921, and the building was inaugurated on January 18, 1927. The recently concluded monsoon session of Parliament could perhaps be the last in the old building.

“Today you meet for the first time in your new and permanent home in Delhi,” Lord Irwin, the Viceroy, told the first session of the third legislative assembly on January 24, 1927.

“In this chamber, the Assembly has been provided with a setting worthy of its dignity and importance, and I can pay its designer no higher compliment than by expressing the wish with that the temper, in which the public affairs of India will be here conducted, may reflect the harmony of his conception,” he said.

Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, Pandit Motilal Nehru, Lala Lajpat Rai, C S Ranga Iyer, Madheo Srihari Aney, Vithalbhai Patel among others were the members of the third legislative assembly.

Through the Government of India Act, 1919, the British had started allowing greater participation of Indians in the government.

Two years later, revolutionaries Bhagat Singh and Batukeshwar Dutt hurled bombs in the Assembly chamber from the public gallery after the House had passed the controversial Trade Disputes Bill.

“At this stage two bombs were thrown from the Visitor’s Gallery, and burst among the benches occupied by the official members, causing injury to certain members. Confusion prevailed and Mr President retired. After a few minutes, Mr President resumed the Chair,” according to the official report of the proceedings of the Legislative Assembly of April 8, 1929.

Vithalbhai Patel was the then president of the Legislative Assembly, a post which came to be known as the Speaker as parliamentary democracy evolved in the country.

On the eve of Independence, the Constituent Assembly met at 11:00 pm with president Rajendra Prasad in the Chair. Sucheta Kriplani, a member from Uttar Pradesh, sang the first verse of Vande Mataram to mark the opening of the special session.

Prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru delivered his famous “tryst with destiny” speech which was followed by a pledge by members of the Constituent Assembly dedicating themselves to the service of the nation.

Speaker G V Mavlankar announced the death of Mahatma Gandhi at a sitting of the Lok Sabha on February 2, 1948.

“We are meeting today under the shadow of a double calamity, the sad demise of the tallest man of our age who has led us from slavery to independence and the reappearance of the cult of political violence in our country,” Mavlankar said.

“A glory has departed and the sun that warmed and brightened our lives has set and we shiver in the cold and dark,” Nehru said.

It was from the same House that prime minister Lal Bahadur Shastri made an appeal to the country to skip one meal every week as India struggled with food shortages and fought a war against Pakistan in 1965.

When the Lok Sabha met after the imposition of Emergency in 1975, the House witnessed protests from several members against the government’s move to suspend private members’ rights to raise issues in the House.

Deputy home minister F H Mohsin placed the Proclamation of Emergency made by the President when the Lok Sabha met on July 21, 1975.

Lok Sabha members Somnath Chatterjee, Indrajit Gupta, Jagannathrao Joshi, H N Mukherjee, P K Deo protested the suspension of their rights.

“It may be the swansong for democracy but I have to say and I say with all the emphasis at my command that when there is no specific rule to give blanket power for suspension of this nature, it cannot be admitted,” Deo, a member of Swatantra Party from Kalahandi, said.

With the country’s politics entering the coalition era in 1989, Parliament witnessed frequent change of governments till 1998, when the BJP formed a coalition under prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

Within a year, the Vajpayee government fell after losing the vote of confidence in the Lok Sabha by a single vote on April 17, 1999, only to be re-elected in the subsequent general elections.

In 1974, the then prime minister Indira Gandhi made a detailed statement in Parliament on July 22, apprising the House of the “peaceful nuclear experiment” at Pokhran and reaction of other countries to it.

Almost 24 years later in 1998, then prime minister Atal Bihar Vajpayee declared India as a nuclear weapons state after scientists carried out five underground nuclear tests on May 11 and May 13 that year.

“India is now a nuclear weapon state. This is a reality that cannot be denied. It is not a conferment that we seek; nor is it a status for others to grant. It is an endowment to the nation by our scientists and engineers. It is India’s due, the right of one-sixth of humankind,” Vajpayee said. 

He also announced a no-first use policy, seeking to assure the world that was caught unawares about the tests.

In 2008, prime minister Manmohan Singh launched a forceful defence of his coalition government during a vote of confidence after the Left parties withdrew support following differences over the nuclear deal with the US.

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