Many statues being shifted in Parliament House
NEW DELHI, Jan 23: The Mahatma Gandhi statue uprooted last Tuesday is not the only statue to be shifted in the Parliament House complex for the construction of a new Parliament building, estimated to cost Rs 971 crore.
The statue of Motilal Nehru is earmarked to be moved either on Sunday or Monday, said the officials of the Central Public Works Department (PWD), which has put up the new design of the Central Vista Redevelopment in public domain, inviting suggestions and objections by January 31.
An iconic statue of Constitution framer B R Ambedkar, where people gather every year during his birth and death anniversaries, is also to be shifted soon temporarily to a new but prominent location, which will be such that a gathering can be held on April 14 to pay him the homage. Even Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla, who is the custodian of the complex, was surprised a bit by shifting of Gandhi's statue to a lawn opposite his entrance gate as the approved plan was to start moving the statues that obstacle the construction only in the second half of February, and not so early, after the budget session of Parliament goes into recess after February 15.
The Tata Projects Limited, however, insisted on removing the statues fast to enable it to complete its task of completing the new triangular Parliament building assigned to it in less than 18 months to let the monsoon session held in it in August next year. Its plan is to complete the construction within a year to enable the interior designers take over to finish other essentials. The government wants the new Parliament building ready by the 75th anniversary of India's independence in 2022.
All the statues that are being uprooted will be installed at various prominent locations after construction of the new Parliament building is completed. The new building's construction kicked off on January 15, after a nod from the Heritage Conservation Committee to the ambitious project as part of the Central Vista redevelopment plan.
Though around 2,000 engineers and workers of Tatas get cracking only this month on the new building, Prime Minister Modi had laid its foundation on December 10. In fact, the construction had begun then, but it was halted after the Supreme Court's directive of a status quo until it dispose off the petitions challenging the Central Vista project.
Besides the new Parliament building, the redevelopment of the Central Vista, the nation's power corridor, envisages a common 3-km long Central Secretariat on both sides of the Rajpath from the Rashtrapati Bhawan to India, besides new Prime Minister's residence and Prime Minister's Office and a new Vice-president enclave, all close to the Parliament House complex to be easily approachable.