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Modi to inaugurate Afghan parliament building soon

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AT Monitoring Desk-KABUL: Indian media reported that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi might soon visit Kabul to inaugurate the parliament building—India’s symbolic gift of democracy to Afghanistan.

According to reports, Prime Minister’s Office has put pressure on all stakeholders to finish the project and said that Modi was keen that the building be ready for him to undertake the visit and inaugurate Afghanistan’s new parliament building.

The project initiated by the government of India in 2007 as a mark of friendship and cooperation to rebuild war-hit Afghanistan, is finally nearing completion and set to meet its December 31 deadline, source added.

Though the parliament building was expected to be completed in November 2011 but has missed at least three 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 percent of the work has been completed and the project team is giving the final touch to the building.

In October, Modi had expressed concerns over delay in the construction of the building and he ordered the Indian External Affairs Ministry and CPWD to expedite work in order to restrain from taking further cost and time.

The project has been conceived as a 300 crore Indian rupee (about $45 million) venture, but now it is likely to cost the exchequer 710 crore rupees.

The parliament building, which has elements of Mughal and modern architecture, will have Asia’s largest dome as its key feature.

Source furthered that key reason behind the project was Delhi’s willingness to emphasize its position in the region as the main development partner of Afghanistan.

This is worth mentioning that the Indian government has been supporting Afghanistan in construction of Salma Dam, recently named as Afghan-India Friendship Dam—a hydroelectric and irrigation project in the western part of the country.

The projects are among other several projects initiated by the Indian government in a bid to lend-support behind development and democracy of Afghanistan.