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Broadcast infra work pending, new Parliament building unlikely to be ready for Winter Session

Modi govt set November deadline for completion of project, coinciding with 75th year of India’s independence. Ukraine war has hit broadcast equipment supply chain, says an official.

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New Delhi: The new Parliament building that is under construction — as part of the Central Vista Redevelopment Project — is unlikely to be ready in time to host the Winter session in December, ThePrint has learnt.

The Modi government had set an ambitious November deadline for the completion of the project, which would have coincided with the 75th year of India’s Independence. It had also planned to hold the Winter session inside the new Parliament to mark the occasion.

Senior government officials involved with the project said that while more than 75 per cent of civil work has been completed, the delay is on account of laying the broadcast infrastructure inside the new Parliament.

Officials are now focusing on building the control room from where the sophisticated broadcast equipment will be operated.

“Work is progressing round-the-clock on the project site, but there has been delay in laying optic fibre cables for internet, power and video transmission,” one of the senior officials told ThePrint.

“Cables can’t just be laid like that. Before that, the control room from where the sophisticated broadcast equipment will be operated has to be built. Work on the control room is likely to finish by November, after which the cables will be laid. This will be followed by system integration, testing and commissioning. It will take time,” the official added.

A second government official said there was also some delay in procuring the broadcast infrastructure, which has to be imported. “The war in Ukraine affected the supply chain, resulting in delays. But now the tender has been awarded for importing the broadcast equipment,” the official said.

Officials from the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs admitted that building a project of this scale in two years is a herculean task. Work on the new complex had started in January 2021.

“A project of this scale takes at least four to five years. The building space is 65,000 square metres. But we have done extraordinary work. More than 75 per cent of the construction is complete. We are trying our best to finish the project within the timeline, but there can be some delay,” one of the housing ministry officials said.

The official added that work on the Parliament building also started late. “There was a court case going on, which delayed the project initially. Then the pandemic happened [second wave in April-May 2021] which disrupted work,” said the official.

Also Read: Modi’s Central Vista project has a history-shaped hole in it

Escalating cost

The Central Public Works Department, which comes under the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, is getting the Parliament project executed by Tata Projects. The delay in construction has resulted in the project cost escalating from Rs 971 crore to approximately Rs 1,200 crore.

The new Parliament will come up in front of the existing Parliament built 95 years ago. The latter will be eventually converted into a museum.

The triangular-shaped Parliament will have more space to accommodate MPs and officials. While the Lok Sabha will have 888 seats, the Rajya Sabha will have 384 seats. The Lok Sabha Hall will have additional capacity of up to 1,272 seats to host joint sessions.

The new complex is part of the Central Vista revamp plan, which includes building a common central secretariat housing all central government ministries and departments, the Central Vista Avenue and the Executive Enclave, which will have the Prime Minister’s Office, a new residence for the Prime Minister and a new Vice-President enclave. An important component of the complex will be a subterranean VIP tunnel that can be accessed from the PM’s home office.

The Central Vista Avenue, now renamed as Kartavya Path, was inaugurated on 8 September.

(Edited by Nida Fatima Siddiqui)

Also Read: All about Heritage Conservation Committee, last hurdle cleared by new Parliament building

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