Parliament may have a new building in place of the existing 85-year-old heritage structure with Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar giving approval for setting up a high-powered committee to suggest an alternative complex.
Lok Sabha secretary general TK Viswanathan told IANS that the speaker had given an "in principle" approval to set up a committee to go into questions such as the site of alternate complex to house the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha and how it will be constructed. He said there was need for an alternate complex as the existing building was heavily used and cannot take the strain.
"Footfalls are increasing...Its heritage character should be preserved.... (There is need to) plan for the future," he said.
Mr Viswanathan said composition of the committee will be decided in the next few days but it was likely to be headed by a leading public figure. The committee is likely to have representation from the urban development ministry.
The Central Public Works Department (CPWD) had said on Thursday that the parliament building needs renovation as there were apprehensions of loosening of small ceiling tiles.
The Speaker had directed the secretariat to take all possible precautions in the wake of Mantralaya fire in Mumbai. Mr Viswanathan said apart from seeking opinion from CPWD, his secretariat had also made its assessment about the present condition of the building.
The secretary general, who has accompanied the speaker on some of her visits abroad, said many parliament buildings were new and had been designed with future requirements in view. He said there were suggestions during the discussion on women's reservation bill to increase the seats in Lok Sabha and possibility of increase in strength of parliament cannot be ruled out.
The foundation stone of Parliament House building was laid in 1921. Constructed at a cost of Rs.83 lakh, it was inaugurated in January 1927.