The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Parliament library wall caves in

New Delhi, Nov. 29: A wall in the new building housing Parliament’s library has caved in even before the paint has dried.

The building became functional in May, after five years of continuous drilling and hammering by workers of the government’s Central Public Works Department (CPWD).

Angry MPs demanded a probe into what they alleged was “corruption” by the contractors. The building had cost the government crores of rupees.

Officials from the urban development ministry, which supervises the CPWD, were not available for comment. Lok Sabha office staff said they were “not aware of any such incident”. But the MPs had plenty to say.

Raising the issue in a special mention in the Rajya Sabha, Samajwadi Party’s Rama Shanker Kaushik also pointed out that a portion of the roof in the new library building is already leaking.

Underlining that the collapse of the wall jeopardised the safety of MPs who use the library, Kaushik demanded action against the contractor. He was supported by a cross-section of the House. Deputy chairperson Najma Hepatullah agreed that the matter was serious, especially considering the volume of money spent.

“It’s a monumental building. The idea was not bad. Parliament was getting too crowded. There was no space in the library. There were books lining the corridors outside,” said Eduardo Faleiro, Congress member in the Rajya Sabha. “But what is point of constructing a bad building' Contractors are making money all the time,” he added.

The Congress MP also suggested that such a grand library building is not a necessity any longer, with MPs relying more and more on the Internet.

“I am not reading any books now. And do all my serious research on the Internet,” Faleiro said.

Minister of state for parliamentary affairs O. Rajagopal assured the Rajya Sabha that he would convey the sentiments of the House to the minister concerned. Ananth Kumar of the BJP heads the urban development ministry.

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