New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday laid the foundation stone of the new Parliament building here at an event that was attended by leaders from various political parties, cabinet ministers and ambassadors of different countries.
Modi also performed the ground-breaking ceremony for the building, which is expected to be completed by 2022.
Priests from the Sringeri Math Karnataka did the rituals for the ‘bhoomi pujan’ at the new Parliament building site and it was followed by a ‘sarva dharma prarthana’ (inter-faith prayer).
Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi, Urban Development Minister Hardeep Singh Puri and Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman Harivansh also offered prayers during the ceremony.
The new building will have an area of 64,500 square metres.
It will also have a grand Constitution Hall to showcase India’s democratic heritage, a lounge for members of Parliament, a library, multiple committee rooms, dining areas and ample parking space.
In the new building, the Lok Sabha chamber will have a seating capacity for 888 members, while the Rajya Sabha will have 384 seats for members. The Lok Sabha chamber will have an option to increase its sitting capacity to 1,224 members during joint sessions.
This has been done keeping in mind the future increase in the number of members for the two houses.
At present, Lok Sabha has a sanctioned strength of 543 members and Rajya Sabha 245.
In September this year, Tata Projects Limited won the bid to construct the new Parliament building. The new building will be constructed close to the existing one under the Central Vista redevelopment project.
The existing Parliament House building will be suitably retro-fitted to provide more functional spaces for parliamentary events, to ensure its usage along with the new building.
The existing building is a massive circular edifice of 560 feet in diameter. The Parliament House Estate is enclosed by an ornamental red sandstone wall or iron grills with iron gates that can be closed when occasions demand. The building has 12 gates.
India, Nepal decide to resume flight services under air bubble arrangement
New Delhi: India and Nepal have decided to resume flight services between the two countries under an air bubble arrangement, sources said on Thursday.
Initially, the service will start with one flight daily from each side between Delhi and Kathmandu, they said.
“We had proposed to Nepal some time back and Nepal has cleared it now,” said a source.
The sources said Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla, during his recent visit to Nepal, had highlighted the importance of people-to-people connectivity in sync with the special relationship between the two countries.
The sources said the service will be started with Indians and Nepalese nationals and all those having valid Indian visa except tourist visa.
People having Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI) and Persons of Indian Origin (PIO) cards will also be allowed to travel.
From the Indian side, the flights will be operated by Air India which, in normal times, had a daily flight between Delhi and Kathmandu, the sources said.
“Air bubble arrangement will follow medical protocols as is being done with other countries which includes RT PCR test report of 72 hours prior to travel,” the source said.
Scheduled international flights have been suspended in India since March 23 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
However, special international passenger flights have been operating in India under the Vande Bharat Mission since May and under bilateral air bubble arrangements formed between India and other countries since July.