New Parliament project gets Central Vista panel nod

The government’s plan to construct a new Parliament building was approved by the Central Vista Committee at a meeting on April 23 with the suggestion that the design be “in sync” with the existing Parliament House, according to the minutes of the meeting sent to its members on Thursday.

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The committee, which is chaired by Central Public Works Department (CPWD) additional director general (works) Anant Kumar, met through videoconferencing. None of the non-government members from the Indian Institute of Architects (IIA) and the Institute of Town Planners was in attendance.

“It is placed for record here with that some members, through email, expressed their inability to join the meeting on grounds of travel restrictions in view of COVID-19 and owing to lack of technical capacity at their end to join online web cased conference facility,” the minutes stated.

These members had requested for the meeting to be postponed, “however, keeping in view the importance of the project in nation’s interest and time scale for its implementation the meeting was held as per issued meeting notice”, the minutes said.

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The “proposed new Parliament building at Plot No.118, New Delhi” was the only item on the agenda. The item was submitted by CPWD executive engineer for the project Ashwani Mittal for the committee’s consideration. Mr. Mittal then invited the architect of the project, Bimal Patel of the Ahmedabad-based HCP Design, Planning and Management, to present the proposal through videoconferencing.

After Mr. Patel presented the proposal, the panel gave its observation of “no objection, with suggestions that the features of the proposed Parliament building should be in sync with the existing Parliament building”.

Architects body’s plea

Balbir Verma, a representative of the IIA on the committee, said the meeting took place despite “all non-government experts from the IIA and the Institute of Town Planners asking for a postponement and having the meeting after the conditions of movement are eased”.

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The minutes of the meeting did not record any discussion on the project. “Whenever any project comes to the committee, even a small project, the minutes of the meeting explain in detail what it was, what the discussion was etc. In this case, the project was approved without that,” he said.

The construction of a new Parliament is a part of the larger revamp of the entire 3-km Central Vista from Rashtrapati Bhavan till India Gate, proposed by the Housing and Urban Affairs Ministry and its construction agency, the CPWD. The plan includes constructing a new triangular Parliament opposite the existing heritage structure and building a central secretariat for all Ministries.

The CPWD had selected HCP Design as its consultant for the project in October 2019. In its revised application for environment clearance on March 12, the CPWD said the estimated cost of the project was Rs.922 crore.

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Printable version | Aug 14, 2020 5:08:48 AM |

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