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Stage set for mega inauguration of new Parliament building by PM

Stage set for mega inauguration of new Parliament building by PM

New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate on Sunday 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.

The Prime Minister on Saturday described the new Parliament building as a “temple of democracy” and wished that it continues to strengthen India’s development trajectory and empower millions.

Modi, who had urged people to share a video of the new building on Twitter with the hashtag ‘MyParliamentMyPride’, also noted that through very emotional voiceovers people are conveying a spirit of pride that the nation is getting a new Parliament which will keep working to fulfill people’s aspirations with more vigour.

Tagging a tweet by Union minister Hardeep Puri lauding the new Parliament building, Modi said on Twitter: “May this Temple of Democracy continue strengthening India’s development trajectory and empowering millions.”

He used the ‘My Parliament My Pride’ tag along with his tweet. The PM also re-tweeted several people’s posts with the video of the new Parliament building and their voiceovers.

In another tweet, Modi said: “Several people are expressing their joy on #MyParliamentMyPride. Through very emotional voice-overs they are conveying a spirit of pride that our nation is getting a new Parliament which will keep working to fulfill people’s aspirations with more vigour.”

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 Union 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.

Regarding the boycott row, Union minister Anurag Thakur on Saturday hit out at the Opposition saying it was an “insult” to the institution. “It is a different matter that some people got barred from Parliament. Earlier, they used to find excuses for not allowing Parliament to function. Now, they are talking of boycott which is also an insult,” Thakur said.

The Minister for Information and Broadcasting was addressing the inaugural session of a day-long national conclave organised by Doordarshan to commemorate the ninth anniversary of the Modi government.

India takes pride in being the “mother of democracy” and Prime Minister Modi has given a new Parliament building to the nation, which is the world’s largest democracy, said Thakur.

Meanwhile, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar asserted: “First of all, there was no need for a new Parliament building.” Kumar had been a Lok Sabha member for several terms in the past.

Without mentioning the BJP or Modi by name, he said: “Those in power nowadays have no respect for history. This is an attempt to change history by those who made no contribution to the freedom struggle.”

Nationalist Congress Party president Sharad Pawar on Saturday defended the decision of opposition parties to skip the inauguration, stressing that MPs were not taken into confidence on it.

Talking to reporters in Pune, Pawar said he was a Member of Parliament for several years and the existing building, a colonial-era structure, was in a good state. Pawar said he read in newspapers that a new Parliament building was being constructed.

“Now that the construction is done, we were not consulted on the inauguration of the (Parliament) building. As per norms, the President of India addresses the first session (of Parliament) every year. So, it is obvious that the President should inaugurate the new building. Since no one is being taken into confidence, senior opposition leaders felt that we should stay away and I agree with it.”

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 Lion Capital of Ashoka Pillar in the centre flanked by the word ‘Bharat’ in Devnagri script and ‘INDIA’ in English, it said.

Rupee symbol and denominational value ‘75’ in international numeral 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 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.

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