India's Modi to inaugurate new parliament building, shedding colonial past

FILE PHOTO: Indian parliament building is reflected in a puddle after the rain as a man sweeps the water in New Delhi

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate the new parliament building in New Delhi this month, parliament said on Thursday, as his government seeks to shed India's colonial past in a move that has irked conservationists.

India's current parliament building was built under British rule in 1927 and has grown too small.

"The lack of space was being experienced in this building as per the present requirements," a statement from the lower house of parliament said, adding that there weren't enough seats.

The inauguration will be on May 28.

Construction of a new building began on Dec. 10, 2020, when Modi laid the foundation stone and called the building an intrinsic part of a "self-reliant India".

The parliament statement said the new building would accommodate 888 members in the lower house and 300 members in the upper house, as compared to the current 543 and 250, respectively.

The new parliament is part of Modi's plan to redevelop the historical heart of New Delhi called the Central Vista.

The area houses landmarks including Parliament House, the presidential palace and the India Gate war memorial, along with some of the largest green spaces in the city of about 20 million.

Plans to redevelop the Central Vista, including consolidating all federal ministries in the precinct area, have drawn objections from conservationists who feel it will obliterate the character of the area.

Project architect Bimal Patel said in an interview with The Indian Express in 2020 that the revamp would "respect history".

(Reporting by Nigam Prusty; Writing by Shivam Patel; Editing by Nick Macfie)