Afghan Parliament Being Built by India to Be Ready by 2015

Sandeep Dahiya/Kabul
Afghan Parliament Being Built by India to Be Ready by 2015

Afghanistan's new Parliament building that India is constructing here as a gift to the Afghan people aspiring to move towards a peaceful democracy, has been delayed further due to challenging working conditions and will now be ready by next year.

The edifice being constructed as a contribution to the establishment of democratic institutions in the war-torn country was earlier scheduled to be completed this year.

"The building having influence of Mughal and modern architecture is being constructed under challenging circumstances and is now scheduled to be handed over to the government of Afghanistan in December next year," an official said.

"Challenging working conditions and delay in availability of some materials have further delayed the project and the revised deadline for completion of the project is June 2015 and it will take another 4-5 months to hand over after the work is finished," G S Pant, Project Manager, Central Public Works Department - Government of India, told PTI here.

Afghanistan is right now passing through a political transition, with just completed presidential elections in which former foreign minister Abdullah Abdullah Ashraf is pitted against ex World Bank executive Ashraf Ghani. The results of the elections are expected early next month.

The building, which will have Asia's largest dome as one of its key features, is taking shape between the decades-old historic landmarks King Palace 'Darul Aman' and Queen Palace - which bear the marks of the war and tell the story of conflicts and devastation.

"Civil work is ready and most of the flooring work has been completed. For outer cladding, we are using white marble from Herat and from Makrana in Rajasthan and other parts of India."

The building, being built at an estimated cost of Rs 710 crore, has four main blocks - House of People, Officers, Entrance Lobby and Senate Hall.

"The edifice will have two domes; main of them is copper clad dome of 32 meter diameter and 17.15 meter height covering the main assembly hall and the other is glass dome on Entrance Lobby," he said.

A water body with 9 cascading fountains is also being constructed in front of the building. Inside the building, a 20-feet-high fountain made of beautiful green marble in Udaipur will also be installed.

The House of People will have a normal seating capacity of 256 and future provision of 38 seats. For the purpose of Joint Session of both the houses, the inner lobby of this block will have additional space for provision of seating of members of Senate.

The Senate Hall will have a seating capacity for 120 members and a future provision of 14.

Most of the materials used in construction of the building and also furniture are being imported from India.

Pant said that 400 to 500 labourers were working on the project site currently and almost 150 of them are Indians.

Work on the building on the 84-acre plot on Kabul's outskirts began in 2009 and initially was to be completed in 36 months.

It is guarded from outside by the local police and the company constructing the project also has a team of security personnel for internal security.

Apart from the Parliament, the Salma dam project in western Herat province is also one of the ambitious projects India has undertaken in the country. That project is also under full swing, am Indian embassy official said.



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