Plans are afoot to build a new legislature complex for the State. While an entirely new building is one of the options, the government is also open to the idea of making do with varying quantum of renovation, alteration and addition depending on the suggestion of the project consultants.
Already, three firms including one each from Baroda, New Delhi and Kolkata have applied for the project’s architecture consultancy contract. Development Commissioner RJM Pillai, who chaired a meeting of the project steering committee, told HT that the day’s deliberations were confined to deciding the parameters for the selection of consultants.
“The finalisation of the consultants was likely by next week when another meeting of the steering committee was scheduled,” Pillai added. “Decision on the nature of work to be taken up, cost, site selection and such other things would be taken after the consultant’s report comes in,” he said, adding things were still in a preliminary stage.
Building Construction Secretary Arun Kumar Singh confirmed that the project was distinct from the planned new-look residential complex for the 318 legislators of both Houses of the State legislature. He declined to comment on the rationale of the project. Nitish Kumar had on July 30 held a high-level meeting to take stock of the security in the complex. In the light of both short and long-term security measures in the over eighty-year-old building, its thorough renovation was considered. Its multiple openings were considered inappropriate from the security viewpoint. The presence of the Home Commissioner on the six-man project steering panel corroborates the security angle of the project.
Construction of the present building had started in 1920 and was completed the same year. Technical heads of the Building Construction Department said that the new project would not take more than 18 months to complete after start of work. Another rationale given for the project at that time was scarcity of space. The number of legislators had gone up since the construction of the building as had the number of House Committees, leaving the number of chambers available inadequate. The other side of the story is that the number of MLAs has dropped by 81 after the creation of Jharkhand. Similarly, the number of MLCs has dropped from 90 then to 75 now.