New Delhi: Union Minister Hardeep Singh Puri on Friday said the construction work on the government's mega plan to redevelop the Parliament Building, Central Vista and a composite complex for various ministries may begin by next year.
The minster said this on the sidelines of an event here. This is the first official reaction by the minister on the ambitious plan of the Narendra Modi government.
Under its mega plan to redevelop the over three-km stretch from Rashtrapati Bhavan to India Gate in Lutyens' Delhi, the Modi government has floated a request for proposal for the "development or redevelopment of Parliament Building, Common Central Secretariat and Central Vista."
Asked about the site and design of the Parliament Building, Puri said these aspects are currently "under consideration".
"As of now, the timeline is expected that by mid-October we should be able to float tender (for the design) and by next year the construction may begin. But, these are all tentative," he told reporters.
Earlier in his address, he spoke about the prime minister's "dream project" of redeveloping the prime government complex spread from Raisina Hill to India Gate, including the North Block and South Block, and Parliament complex.
"The North Block and South Block and the 3.5-km Central Vista spreading from Rashtrapati Bhavan to India Gate, all of that will be redeveloped," he said.
"And, by 2024 at the time of the next elections, it is expected that we will be in a new Parliament Building," Puri said.
The Monsoon Session of Parliament in 2022 will be held in a newly-developed Parliament Building, government sources said on Thursday.
The sources said that by next year, the Central Vista will be redeveloped and the common Central Secretariat will be built by 2024.
Shastri Bhawan, Udyog Bhawan, Krishi Bhawan are among buildings which may be razed to facilitate a common Central Secretariat for offices of various ministries, sources also said on Thursday.
"Nirman Bhawan, Shahstri Bhawan and other such buildings, they will all be rebuilt," Puri said.
Asked if the look of the old Parliament building, a Grade-I Heritage structure, will be changed, he said, "It is a heritage building, and therefore its facade cannot be touched".
Rashtrapati Bhavan (built as Viceroy's House), Parliament House, North Block and South Block, and Central Vista leading to India Gate are some of the most iconic buildings of the city which were constructed between 1911-1931, during the building of India's new capital, 'New Delhi'.
The work had begun after the capital of the British India was shifted from Calcutta to Delhi at a Coronation Durbar held here in December 1911.
Sir Edwin Lutyens was made the main architect of the city and he was also assisted by Sir Herbert Baker, in designing the North Block, South Block and Parliament House. Construction of Parliament House, built in an iconic circular design began in 1921 and Viceroy Lord Irwin had inaugurated it in 1927. He had inaugurated the capital of New Delhi in 1931, by which time the buildings on Raisina Hill were completed.
"It is prime minister's dream project. Most of these buildings came up from 1911-1927, and they are very imposing. But, those made after Independence, some of these seem to have been built in a hurry, and may have outlived their purpose," Puri said.
"Also, many of the post-Independence buildings are not earthquake-resistant ,and cost us on repairs. Also, the government spends about Rs 1,000 cr every year on renting facilities for government offices," Puri said.
Asked the reason behind the revamp of Parliament, he said both Houses — Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha are located in it and their strength may increase after delimitation.
"Also MPs have no rooms, no facility for research back-up and for working with their officials," the Union minister said, adding, "So, at this time, we are working in a world of ideas, and suggestion are also coming for a new Parliament building nearby the existing one, in an open space, but these are all ideas at the moment." Sources on Thursday had said that the existing Parliament building might be turned into a museum, if the Centre decides to build a new one.