Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government is being slammed globally for going ahead with the Central Vista project during the time when the nation is suffering from the second wave of coronavirus, with lakhs of active COVID cases and thousands dying daily. The DailyMail UK did a story on May 5, 2021, with the title, "The monstrous monument to Narendra Modi's ego: As millions suffer in pandemic, India's narcissistic Prime Minister is building a vast folly at a cost that could fund 40 major hospitals. Now his nation is in uproar".
In the backdrop to this, a post is doing rounds on social media which claims that Lok sabha speaker Meira Kumar from Congress had approved the construction of a new Parliament building at the cost of Rs 3000 crores, while the current cost of Parliament building is Rs 971 crores. As per the social media post, the price of the Central Vista Project is much lower than the estimated price by Congress; hence, the supporters of Congress are against the construction of a new Parliament building.
The social media post reads, "Former Congress Lok Sabha President Meera Kumar had approved the new Parliament House. Year: 2012---- Year 2020 Building: New Parliament Construction PM: Manmohan Singh--PM:Narendra Modi Party: Congress. Party BJP Area:35k sqm Area:65k sqm. Cost :3k crores. Cost 970Crores"
The post is widely being shared on Twitter.
The construction of the new Parliament building was approved by former Congress leader and Lok Sabha President Meira Kumar at the cost of Rs 3000 crores.
On doing a search with the keyword, 'Meira Kumar, New Parliament building', we came across an article published by India Today on July 14, 2012. According to the article, the then Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar approved setting up a high-powered committee to suggest an alternative complex for the existing Parliament building. The report also quoted Lok Sabha secretary general T.K. Viswanathan who said that there was a need for an alternate complex as the existing building was heavily used and cannot take the strain. He said, "Footfalls are increasing...Its heritage character should be preserved.... (There is need to) plan for the future."
The FirstPost also reported on July 13, 2012, that the Central Public Works Department (CPWD) also said that the Parliament building needs renovation as there were apprehensions of loosening of small ceiling tiles.
Meira Kumar had constituted two committees for the maintenance of Parliament, the Joint Parliamentary Committee on 'Maintenance of Heritage Character and Development of Parliament House Complex' and the Standing Technical Committee (STC) consisting of technical experts in the field, to act as an advisory to the JPC. The committee had to look for the structural soundness of the Parliament building, proper utilisation of office in Parliament house building, engagement of heritage conservation etc. However, reports of the committee are currently not available on the Lok Sabha website.
Later in 2015, Sumitra Mahajan, the then Lok Sabha speaker from Bhartiya Janta Party, had suggested the construction of a new Parliament building. According to an article published by The Times Of India on December 28, 2015, Mahajan had written to Venkaiah Naidu, the then urban development minister, with her proposal, saying that the 88-year-old heritage structure was showing signs of "distress" and will not be able to meet the growing demand for space. This article also mentions that Meira Kumar's idea was kept on hold as she did not get enough support.
The Journal of Parliamentary Information also mentions that Meira Kumar and Sumitra Mahajan had accorded approval of the new Parliament building. But nowhere it is mentioned that the estimated cost of construction was Rs 3000 crores. Moreover, the idea of Meira Kumar did not get enough support and was hence kept on hold.
Thus, we can conclude that though Meira Kumar had supported the idea of construction of a new Parliamentary building, the figure Rs 3000 considered to be the then estimated cost of the construction of the new building is fictitious.
New Central Vista Project:
The new Central Vista Project is going to be built at an estimated cost of Rs 20,000 crore. The cost of the new Parliament building alone is Rs 971 crore, as per the data presented by Dr T. Sumathy (A) Thamizhachi Thangapandian, Member of Parliament, in Lok Sabha's debate on February 10, 2021.
If you have any news that you believe needs to be fact-checked, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or WhatsApp at 6364000343.
Also Read: Image Of Chhattisgarh CM Goes Viral Hinting He Didn't Take Jab Of Coronavirus Vaccine