India’s national emblem is likely to sit atop the new Parliament building, according to the latest design iteration prepared for the tendering process, replacing a spire that was meant to come up in an earlier version.
A housing and urban affairs ministry official said that the design with the state emblem has been finalised for the construction tender.
According to a presentation by HCP Design Planning and Management Private Limited, which has been tasked with redeveloping Delhi’s Central Vista, the current design incorporates the state emblem instead of the spire.
“We have narrowed down on the 17th version, and I think that’s the final one,” the company stated in the presentation, reviewed by HT.
Work on the new Parliament, a ground plus two-storey triangular-shaped building, is expected to begin after the ongoing monsoon session, a spokesperson for the architecture firm said. The design will be finalised once construction is scheduled, they added.
In the previous design, a spire would have crowned the triple-heighted central foyer, even as a tricoloured beam in the colours of the Indian flag would have lit up the night sky overhead.
Last month, the government narrowed the list of choices for building a new Parliament complex to three Mumbai-based construction companies, Larsen & Toubro, Tata Projects and Shapoorji Pallonji & Company, who have qualified for the submission of financial bids. According to officials aware of the development, submissions must take place before September 16.
“The project report has been prepared and construction drawings are in progress,” the HCP spokesperson told HT.
The national emblem is an adaptation of the Lion Capital of Ashoka at Sarnath, a fine sculpture that dates back to around 250 BC at the time of Emperor Ashoka’s reign, and which depicts four lions, each facing the four directions, placed atop the Ashoka pillar.
A two-dimensional representation of this sculpture depicting three lions was officially adopted on January 26, 1950, the day the Constitution of India came into effect.
The new Parliament building with a built-up area of approximately 60,000 metre square, is set to come up on plot number 118 of the Parliament House Estate, which currently houses a reception, boundary walls and other temporary structures.
The central foyer has been renamed the Constitution Hall as it is expected to display the Constitution for public viewing. A library will also come up near the central foyer.
“It will have sculptures of parliamentarians and images representing the diversity of India. At one side of the Constitution Hall will be the Constitution gallery, where the Constitution will be displayed,” HCP stated in the presentation.
The triangular complex is designed to include 120 offices with six separate entrances for member of the public, MPs and VIPs, including the Speaker and the vice president.
The new Parliament will house enlarged chambers for the Rajya Sabha and the Lok Sabha; the latter has been designed to accommodate 1,350 MPs in case of joint sessions. The public gallery will seat more than 336 persons. The current Parliament building is over 90 years old.
HCP, which won the bid last year, will also construct a separate building to house MP offices where the Transport Bhawan and the Shram Shakti Bhawan currently stand.
The new Parliament complex was expected to be completed by 2022, but government officials said the pandemic and the subsequent lockdown has slowed the project’s timeline.
The Central Vista redevelopment project has come under criticism from different quarters. While the Opposition has called for suspending the ₹20,000 crore project due to the pandemic, some conservationists have argued that it would change the historic nature of Lutyens’ Delhi.