India’s symbolic gift of democracy to Afghanistan – its new parliament building – is almost complete with plans in the works for Prime Minister Narendra Modi to visit Kabul in the near future for the official inauguration, reported Afghan news agency TOLONews.
Indian media claims that the prime minister’s office is pressuring all stakeholders to complete the project at the earliest, with Modi eager to attend the inauguration ceremony.
The project was initiated by the Indian government in 2007 as a mark of friendship and cooperation to help rebuild war-torn Afghanistan, and is set for completion on Dec 31.
But the new parliament building was due to have been completed in November 2011 and has missed at least three completion deadlines over the last four years.
In the latest review, conducted by India’s Secretary of Urban Development Madhusudan Prasad and the Central Public Works Department (CPWD), it was found that 96 per cent of the work has been completed and the project team is putting final touches to the building.
The project had been conceived as a $45 million venture but is now likely to cost the exchequer $90 million.
The parliament building has elements of Mughal and modern architecture and will have Asia’s largest dome as its key feature.
It is situated between historic landmarks King’s Palace ‘Darulaman’ and the Queen's Palace – which bear the marks of the war and tell the story of conflict and devastation.
The building will house the Wolesi Jirga (Lower House) with a seating capacity of 294, a 190-seat Meshrano Jirga (Upper House), entrance lobby, offices, conference rooms, dining halls and a press room among others.
When he inaugurates the parliament building, Modi wants to emphasise India’s role as a major player in the region, media reports said.