Bihar Assembly building centenary pillar built at cost of about Rs 3 cr

A ceremonial pillar erected in the Bihar Assembly premises to mark the centenary of the iconic building has been built at a cost of about Rs 3 crore and designed in keeping with the ”architectural aesthetics” of the historic landmark, a top official said on Monday.

The tall obelisk that has been mounted in a garden opposite the central portico of the over a century-old twin-storied building, will be unveiled by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday.

The 40-foot structure has been built by the Building Construction Department (BCD) of the Bihar government, and the pillar is topped with an ornate bronze sculpture depicting the emblem of Bihar.

”The centenary of the Bihar Assembly building was commemorated on February 7 in 2021 with a grand event. And since then a number of other programmes have been held to mark the 100 years of the historic building,” BCD Secretary Kumar Ravi told PTI.

”The centenary pillar — Shatabdi Smriti Stambh — was conceived as part of the celebrations. It has been built at a cost of about Rs 3 crore,” Ravi said.

The foundation stone of the pillar was laid by President Ram Nath Kovind on October 21 last year. The president had also planted a sapling of Bodhi tree, which now stands in front of the ceremonial column.

Ravi, who is also the divisional commissioner of Patna, said all arrangements have been made for the prime minister’s visit, and security around the venue has been stepped up.

”We have received the list of guests from the Vidhan Sabha Secretariat, and security arrangement-wise, we are totally alert,” he said.

According to the scheduled programme, Modi will arrive at the Bihar Assembly premises in the evening and unveil the Shatabdi Smriti Stambh. He will also plant a sapling of Kalpataru tree. Asked about the details on the designing of the pillar, the BCD secretary said, ”During the conception phase, we had received two-three designs and we finalised one, based on which the ceremonial pillar has been built”.

”As it is a tall column, BCD engineers decided to give it a core of RCC (reinforced cement concrete) for structural stability. And then we gave it a cladding of light-hued Jaisalmer sandstone in keeping with the architectural aesthetics of the old Assembly building which is an iconic landmark of the city,” Ravi said.

A ”national-level artist and his team” worked with the BCD on this project, he added.

The pillar with an octagonal cross-section has five tiers below the 15-foot sculptural tree which has been lent a green hue, and sits on a wide platform with three approaching steps from all sides.

Panels have been added on the faces of the base of the pillar, depicting several illustrations as shown in different parts of the original copy of the Constitution of India.

The bronze sculpture symbolically depicts the emblem of Bihar — a Bodhi tree with prayer beads dangling from its side branches, flanked by two ‘Swastikas’ — he said.

The historical emblem is used as a logo of the government of Bihar.

”Bihar Vidhan Sabha Secretariat provided us with some of the images of illustrations in the original copy of the Constitution, which have been depicted on panels at the bottom of the pillar,” Ravi said.

In a statement earlier, Bihar Assembly Speaker Vijay Kumar Sinha had expressed delight over the prime minister’s scheduled tour on July 12 which will be the first occasion for any prime minister to visit the state assembly.

During his visit, the prime minister will also officially christen a garden as ‘Shatabdi Smriti Udyan’. Located near the centenary pillar, the garden has been enriched with 100 herbal plants, officials said.

He will also lay the foundation stones of a Bihar Vidhan Sabha museum and Bihar Vidhan Sabha guest house via remote control. Both these projects will also be executed by the BCD.

”The budget for the museum is Rs 48.76 crore and the Bihar Cabinet had given its nod to the project on July 5. The budget for the Assembly guest house is Rs 12.10 crore. Both the museum and the guest house will come up in 18 months. All buildings will be made such that it meets the requirements of the ambience,” the BCD secretary said.

The Bihar Legislative Assembly building, which was originally called the Council Chamber, completed its centenary in 2021.

It was designed by architect A M Millwood in a ”free Renaissance style” in keeping with the architectural grandeur of the iconic Patna Secretariat, according to old records.

Though the double-storied edifice was ready by the end of 1920, the inaugural session of the Bihar and Orissa Provincial Legislative Councils in the new building was held on February 7, 1921 after it was formally opened by the then state Governor Lord S P Sinha on the same day.

During the centennial function hosted last year in the Central Hall of the new annexe building of the old Bihar legislative complex on the same date — February 7 — Chief Minister Nitish Kumar had highlighted the glorious past of the Bihar Legislative Assembly.

”A book on the historic journey of the Assembly would also be released on the occasion as per the plan,” a senior official of the Bihar Assembly said on Sunday.

The book in Hindi depicts the journey of the Bihar Assembly from its first session to its 17th session, and has been compiled by officials of the Assembly, he said.

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