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15 years on, new Assembly building yet to come up in Meghalaya

File picture of Assembly on fire on January 9,2001
File picture of Assembly on fire on January 9,2001

SHILLONG: 15 years after the heritage Assembly building was gutted by fire, the construction of a new building is yet to start even as the Assembly Speaker AT Mondal hopes that preparatory works for calling experts to design the new building will begin at the earliest.
It was on January 9, 2001 exactly 15 years ago, that a major fire engulfed the Assembly building at Police Bazar.
After the incident, the Assembly sessions were first held at U Soso Tham auditorium and later the temporary Assembly was shifted to the Arts and Culture Building, Rilbong.
Change of Speakers of the Assembly with the change of Governments had also resulted in the change of sites for the construction of the new building.
The selected sites were Police Bazar, Mawdiangdiang, Upper Shillong, and Tara Ghar, the erstwhile official residence of the Meghalaya Chief Minister.
Moreover, designs for the new Assembly building also changed with the selection of new sites.
However, the state government now has decided to construct the new Assembly at New Shillong Township at  Mawdiangdiang after the allotment of 80 acres of land near the building of Civil Defence and Home Guards.
Status of new building
On the eve of the 15th anniversary of the destruction of the old Assembly on Friday, speaking to  The Shillong Times, the Speaker said that he still remembers how elegant was the old heritage Assembly building. “The delay in constructing the new building is giving me sleepless nights”, he added.
Speaker said that the Expression of Interest for getting experts for preparing architectural and structural designs for the construction of new building will be made available end of February  and after the Budget session, funds will be allotted for firms or consultants  selected after the bidding process to carry out designing of the building in April. The consultants will prepare  detailed project report for the construction of the new building
The total cost of the building is yet to be estimated by the PWD.
Mondal said that the designs will also look into landscape of the building.
The Speaker wants sufficient greenery at the proposed site at Mawdiangdiang as it will add beauty to the structure when it comes up.
He also said a transformer will be set up shortly at the site and men will be deployed to protect the property.

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