New building for federal parliament to cost Rs5 billion rupeesCountry’s first-ever parliamentary building is expected to be ready in three years.
Prime Minister KP Sharma on Wednesday laid the foundation stone for a new Parliament building, the first-ever such infrastructure being constructed with the sole purpose of housing the country’s legislature.
The facility will cost an estimated Rs 5 billion and will be completed in three years.
The building to be constructed on 173 ropanis and eight annas of land on the Singha Durbar premises will be built by a joint venture of the China-based Second Harbor Engineering Company and Tundi Construction, a Nepali firm.
Oli had announced the construction of a parliament building on the first day of assuming office in his second stint as prime minister in February last year.
Though he had announced then that the building would be ready within two years, nothing had moved forward.
The Department of Urban Development and Building Construction, which is overseeing the construction, has set three years for the completion of the building.
“The federal parliament will have its own building within the deadline,” Oli said after laying the foundation stone.
The department had allocated Rs 7.73 billion, excluding taxes for the structure. However, the joint venture quoted 26 percent lesser—just Rs 5.02 billion—than the estimated budget.
Prakrina Tuladhar, a senior divisional engineer at the department, said 13 percent Value Added Tax will be added to the quoted amount. “We selected the joint venture from among 17 bidders,” Tuladhar told the Post. “We will sign an agreement within three weeks.”
The new building will have different blocks for the House of Representatives, the National Assembly, a common lobby for both the Houses, a VIP lobby, a library, a museum, parliamentary party offices for all the political parties and a canteen.
The Lower House will have 400 seats while 100 seats will be available for the Upper House.
The Singha Durbar housed the bicameral parliament until 2006. After the first Constituent Assembly election in 2008, the International Convention Centre (ICC) in New Baneshwor has been used for lawmakers. The government pays Rs 150 million annually in rent to the ICC and has spent over Rs 1 billion so far.
A plan to construct a building for the parliament dates back to the Panchayat era, but it never took off.
After the restoration of democracy in 1990, Parliament convened in a building that housed the Rastriya Panchayat.
The old parliament building known as Gallery Baithak was the personal theatre of prime minister Chandra Shumsher Rana.
The plan to construct a parliament building at Putali Bagaicha is not a recent one. The Singha Durbar Secretariat Reconstruction Committee proposed a complete design in 2001 with an estimated cost of Rs 2.15 billion.
Confusion over the site also delayed commencement of the construction. The Nepal Army, which occupied the ‘Putali Bagaincha’ where the new structure is being constructed, wanted compensation for giving up the land. Later, the Army was provided with a plot of land near the Ministry of Home Affairs for leaving the Bagaincha area.
Preparations for the parliament building started in the March last year by setting up a committee led by Chief Secretary Lok Darshan Regmi. The panel included General Secretary of federal parliament Manohar Prasad Bhattarai and secretaries of related ministries, including Home and Urban Development.