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Old Parliament, 96, to live on as architectural marvel

Old Parliament, 96, to live on as architectural marvel


Tribune News Service

Aditi Tandon

New Delhi, September 18

As the Indian Parliament prepares to get a new address, the old building, 96, will live on as the architectural wonder.

Lord Irwin had opened complex

  • Opened by then Governor-General Lord Irwin on Jan 18, 1927, old complex can accommodate only 543 members in LS & 250 in RS
  • In contrast, the new Parliament complex, designed by architect Bimal Patel, can seat as many as 888 members in the LS and 300 in the RS

Inaugurated in colonial times by then Governor-General Lord Irwin on January 18, 1927, the old complex was designed by English architects Herbert Baker and Edwin Lutyens and can accommodate only 543 members in the Lok Sabha and 250 in the Rajya Sabha.

In contrast, the new Parliament, designed by architect Bimal Patel, can seat 888 members in the Lok Sabha and 300 in the Rajya Sabha.

The present building was never designed to accommodate a bicameral legislature for a full-fledged democracy, which necessitated a rethink.

So far, the Parliament House was serving its purpose because the number of Lok Sabha seats had remained unaltered at 545 based on the delimitation exercise carried out on the basis of the 1971 Census. However, that will change and increase substantially after 2026. “The current cap on the total number of seats is only till 2026,” the government says as it prepares for the future.

The seating arrangements in the current Houses of Parliament remain cramped and cumbersome with no desks beyond the second row. Even the historic Central Hall has a seating capacity only for 440 persons. Due to limited space for movement, it is also a huge security risk, government sources have maintained on the need for a new building.

As he said goodbye to the old Parliament today, Prime Minister Narendra Modi remembered to mention: “This Parliament may have come up under foreign rulers but it was built with the sweat, labour and money of Indians.”

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