SHILLONG, May 7 – After a delay of ten years, construction of the new Assembly building complex adjacent to the picturesque Ward’s Lake here would begin soon with fund for the project identified.
Although the Detailed Project Report (DPR) for constructing the 41-foot high “green Assembly building complex” at Taraghar was prepared last year, sanction of fund from the Centre was being awaited. Meghalaya Assembly Speaker, Charles Pyngrope said funds have been identified for the project by the Chief Minister after the Planning Commission fixed the State’s annual plan.
The Commission has allotted Meghalaya Rs 2727 crore for this fiscal. The DPR has estimated Rs 260 crore for the construction. “We would be meeting soon to finalise the plan to start construction,” Pyngrope said.
As per the DPR, the new Assembly building will have five floors complete with water and sewage treatment plants and facilities for rainwater harvesting.
The built up area would constitute 28 per cent out of the 6.4 acre plot, with the remaining 72 per cent left for landscaping and parking.
Meghalaya has the dubious distinction in India of not having a permanent Assembly building for the past ten years after the “heritage Assembly building” at Police Bazaar was gutted in a fire on January 9, 2001.
Several sites were identified for building a new Assembly building complex, but every proposal courted opposition from some quarters.
In 2002, plan to construct the Assembly building at the same site was put on hold after it was alleged that construction work was allotted to a local contractor without calling tender.
The idea to construct the Assembly building at the same site at Police Bazar was permanently shelved because the area was then thought to be too close to a commercial area.
In 2006, former Chief Minister, DD Lapang tried to shift it outside the city to Mawdiangdiang. However, Lapang opponents alleged that his loyalists bought land in the area and hence the government was over-anxious to build the complex there.
Lapang, eventually, not only gave up the idea, but also lost his post as the Chief Minister due to the controversy.
Next year, based on the proposal of an Assembly-constituted site selection committee, the then Governor MM Jacob laid the foundation stone for the Assembly building in Upper Shillong.
That project too did not make headway after some NGOs opposed it, citing the area was a government institute for potato research and it should remain so.