Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla today said that India could have a new, modern and technologically advanced parliament building in another three years as the nation approaches its 75th year of Independence. The decision, he said, will be taken after consultation with all stakeholders, including parliamentarians and all those who work in the parliament complex.
"All parliamentarians have requested the Prime Minister. We want the world's most modern, high-tech parliament. The prime minister as accepted our request," Mr Birla told NDTV in an interview. The Speaker set 2022 as the year by which a new parliament could be expected.
The current parliament may also be modernized. "Everyone has sent their suggestions. There will be a discussion on this," he said. "In 2022, when we complete 75 years of independence and take a resolution for a 'New India', we will also work towards making a new, modern temple of democracy," Mr Birla said.
The current parliament complex, which houses the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha, is a colonial-era building designed by Edwin Lutyen, the British architect who also designed what is known as "Lutyen's Delhi".
"The construction of the building took six years and the opening ceremony was performed on 18 January 1927 by the then Governor-General of India, Lord Irwin. The cost of the construction was Rs 83 lakh," stated a document on the parliament's official website.
The speaker had made a similar statement last week at a press conference in Lok Sabha. He said had that it is the aspirations of "all of us" that Parliament Building of the largest democracy of the world should be the most magnificent and attractive.
In the interview to NDTV, the speaker said that he had received the support of not just the government, but even opposition leaders. He also assured fair play amid allegations that the government has steamrolled legislations through both houses of parliament without taking opposition into confidence.
"As they (the opposition) have their own political concepts, their own policies, their own governments in some states, I believe in taking them into confidence. Everybody should get a chance to say their piece too. They should get equal time," he said.