Kathmandu, December 12:

The government is going to send a fact-finding mission to England within a fortnight to study the condition of the Nepali embassy there.

Amidst reports that the Nepali embassy in England is on sale, Minister for Foreign Affairs Sahana Pradhan today said the government will take a final decision on the fate of the embassy once the team comprising officials from the Foreign Ministry, Office of the Attorney General, Finance Ministry and other technical experts comes back with a comprehensive report on the condition of the embassy.

Pradhan told the parliamentary International Relations Committee that the embassy is in a “prime location” but is in a dilapidated state. “The condition of the embassy building is critical,” Pradhan said.

She said renovation of the embassy is estimated to cost £450 million. She justified the idea of selling the embassy since the renovation cost of a single embassy infrastructure would meet the expenditures to build new buildings for Nepali embassies in countries where the embassies are taken on lease.

The embassy in London itself was taken on a 90-year lease, Pradhan said, adding, “We will be selling the lease.” The cabinet had last year decided to sell it and construct a new building in a suitable location.

“Selling the lease of the embassy can be a brilliant idea than to renovate it,” Pradhan said. Lawmaker Parsuram Meghi Gurung supported Pradhan’s idea, saying, “The building is in an awful state. Even the compound walls are about to collapse.” He said the government will have to bear a hefty compensation if the compound walls collapse. He labelled the idea of renovating the building as “keeping an elephant” for a poor man.

Lawmaker Jhalanath Khanal urged the government to maintain transparency while dealing with the embassy. “The parliament and the committee should be provided with precise information about the motive behind selling the embassy,” he added.