New Delhi: The ambitious proposal to build a new Parliament building has seen an 18.8 per cent cost escalation — to Rs 922 crore from Rs 776 crore — at a time when the Modi government is trying to shore up its finances to contain the raging Covid-19 outbreak, ThePrint has learnt.
The proposed new Parliament building will come up on the same premises that houses the old one and is part of the Rs 20,000-crore Central Vista redevelopment project, which is currently awaiting environmental clearance.
A source familiar with the matter told ThePrint the cost has gone up because of additional infrastructure requirements and an increase in size of various facilities that are part of the project.
“It is nothing extraordinary. For instance, the size of the office rooms and the committee rooms in the new Parliament building has gone up from the original design,” the source added.
Similarly, the air conditioning of the old Parliament building has to be upgraded and that cost has also been added to the project.
“The escalation from Rs 776 crore to Rs 922 crore is the consolidated requirement,” the source said.
The government has set a 2022 deadline to complete the new Parliament building, which will be triangular in shape.
The Central Public Works Department (CPWD), the government’s construction wing under the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, which is implementing the project, has submitted the revised cost for the expansion and renovation of existing Parliament building to the environment ministry last month.
The submission came after the ministry’s Environment Appraisal Committee (EAC) sought details of the project from the CPWD.
In its reply, accessed by ThePrint, to the EAC, dated 12 March, the CPWD said the project cost of Rs 922 crore instead of Rs 776 crore has happened “due to changes in project specifications, which have been approved after the application submission”.
Makeover of Delhi’s power corridor
In March, the central government had notified the change of land-use of over 86-acre area in Lutyens’ Delhi that currently houses some of India’s landmark buildings like the Parliament House and Rashtrapati Bhavan, among others, from “recreational/public and semi-public facilities” to “government use” — to expedite completion of the Central Vista redevelopment project.
The Central Vista revamp plan, aimed at giving Delhi’s power corridor a complete makeover, will include the construction of a new triangular-shaped Parliament, new PM residence, and 10 new building blocks to accommodate government offices, including Shastri Bhavan, Nirman Bhavan, Udyog Bhavan, Krishi Bhavan and Vayu Bhavan, among others.
The new residence for the prime minister will move to the southern side of Rashtrapati Bhavan.
These buildings currently house the offices of different central ministries such as education, health, housing, agriculture, commerce, air force, among others.
The land use change was notified even as a petition challenging the project is still pending in the Supreme Court.
All govt offices to be at one place
Union Minister for Housing and Urban Affairs Hardeep Singh Puri had earlier said there is a need to have all government offices at one place.
Even a small ministry like the external affairs, at present, has four or five different offices spread across Delhi.
Puri had said the government spends Rs 1,000 crore on giving rent every year for its office accommodations across the national capital.
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