Speaker rejects Cong idea to construct Assembly complex in farmland

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Shillong, Aug 1 (UNI) The United Democratic Party (UDP)-led Meghalaya Progressive Alliance government has abandoned the then Congress government's initiative to construct a permanent Assembly building in a farmland and decided to construct the same at the old site in Khyndai Lad.

Speaker Bindo M Lanong, who is also the chairman of the High Power Committee (HPC) that has been assigned to locate the site of the new legislative building, said the Committee decided to construct the new Assembly building at its old site as it was centrally located and near the State Secretariat, government offices and MLA Hostel.

In 2006, the then Rymbai-led government had decided to construct the Assembly building at the Agriculture Research Station in Upper Shillong, which sparked off protest from NGOs and farming community.

The government had acquired 35.3 acres of land for the new Assembly complex.

The Agriculture Research station at Upper Shillong was primarily set up to provide technical assistance and strengthen the production of upland crops, the Speaker said.

Ever since the 125-year-old structure that housed the Legislative Assembly was reduced to ashes on January 9, 2001, the state government has not been able to take a final decision on where to construct the new secretariat.

''The present Assembly secretariat will be demolished for setting up the new Assembly building. We hope to complete construction of the building by the end of 2009 or early 2010,'' Mr Lanong said.

Earlier, the Lapang-led government had proposed to construct the new Assembly building in the new Shillong Township. But the government failed to do so after protests from several Legislators and NGOs.

Mr Lanong said the HPC would hold its next meeting in the first week of September to discuss the design, structure, size and storage of the new Assembly building.

Presently, the Assembly sessions are held at the Arts and Culture auditorium within the premises of Brookside, the house in Meghalaya where Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore began writing his 'Shesher Kobita' in 1919.

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