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.