A post claiming that the UPA government had initiated the project of new Parliament building with a cost of Rs. 3000 crores back in 2012, whereas the BJP government planned to complete it in just Rs. 970 crores is being widely shared across social media platforms. Through this article, let’s fact-check the claim made in the post.
Claim: UPA government initiated the project of new Parliament building with a cost of Rs. 3000 crores back in 2012.
Fact: While it is true that former Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar has accorded approval to the proposal for construction of a new Parliament building, these deliberations did not reach the stage of estimating the project cost and allocation of funds. The amount of Rs. 3000 crores, the purported cost of new Parliament building, estimated during the UPA regime as claimed is a fictitious number. Hence the claim made in the post is MISLEADING.
During the UPA regime, in view of maintaining the heritage character and grandeur of the Parliament building, the then Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar had constituted two committees. The first is the Joint Parliamentary Committee on ‘Maintenance of Heritage Character and Development of Parliament House Complex’. The second is the Standing Technical Committee (STC) consisting of technical experts in the field, to act as an advisory to the JPC. However, the committee reports are currently not available on the Lok Sabha website.
In July 2012, considering the steep rise in the number of parliamentary staff, security personnel, media visitors, and parliamentary activities, former Lok Sabha speaker Meira Kumar had accorded approval to the proposal for construction of a new Parliament building.
Accordingly, Meira Kumar’s Officer on Special Duty (OSD) wrote a formal letter to the Union Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs stating “The Parliament building was constructed in the 1920s and commissioned in 1927. It has been declared a Heritage Grade 1 building. Over the decades, on account of ageing and overuse, the Parliament House building has started showing signs of distress at various places.”
However, this attempt of building a new Parliament House came to a standstill and did not reach the stage of preparing a detailed report of the project including the cost estimates and allocation of funds as claimed in the post. In fact, those deliberations did not even decide as to where the new Parliament building has to be constructed. By this, we can infer that the amount of Rs. 3000 crores, the purported estimated cost for new Parliament building during UPA tenure is a fictitious number.
The current Central Vista project which involves constructing a new triangular Parliament building, a common central secretariat, new buildings for the Prime Minister and Vice-President residence, and revamping of Rajpath is a Rs. 20,000 crore project out of which the estimation for the construction of new Parliament building amounts to Rs. 971 crores.
FACTLY has filed an RTI request with Ministry of Housing & Urban affairs seeking information related to the deliberations for a new Parliament house during UPA tenure, and this article will be updated accordingly upon receiving the information.
To sum it up, UPA government did not initiate the execution of the new Parliament building with Rs. 3,000 crores.