Panel against relocation of Parliament

Advani, others in favour of retaining the structure

Panel against relocation of Parliament

The Parliament House will not be relocated. The Heritage Committee of Parliament has rejected a proposal to construct a new building to ensure safety to the 85-year old circular-shaped structure.

At its meeting held here on Thursday, the committee headed by Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar decided not to shift the majestic, circular-shaped Parliament building.

A safety audit conducted after the fire in Mumbai’s Mantralaya indicated that Parliament building is a fire-safety hazard and “unsafe.”  The Central Public Works Department (CPWD) even found an alternative site to build a new Parliament House.  It has said the imposing Parliament building’s wear and tear was a cause of concern.

Thursday’s meeting was attended by Urban Development Minister Kamal Nath, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pawan Bansal, MPs L K Advani, Karan Singh, etc. Advani and Singh were vociferous in their opposition to the new plan. The committee, however, was in favour of hiring an architect to undertake a “de-congestion” plan that will suggest how to remove encroachments, modernise fire safety and other equipment, and recalibrate facilities like air-conditioning ducts and extensive cabling that were added to allow television broadcast of Parliament proceedings.

Holding its first meeting after the safety audit report, which pointed out that the Parliament complex did not have fire safety certificate for the last 60 years, the committee favoured that repair works should be carried out. Advani told the meeting that the building was constructed for a specific purpose and shifting to a new location would defeat the same.

Bansal was in favour of shifting out “non-core” offices out of the Parliament building, removal of encroachments. He sought finalisation of a long-term plan to ensure proper preservation of the building.

The Parliament building, designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens and Sir Herbert Baker, was completed in 1927, six years after construction began. It comprises the chambers of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha, the Central Hall and scores of offices in its ground plus two-storied structure.

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