Prez office to be expanded
Kathmandu, November 22
The government today officially announced that the Office of the President would be expanded and the Office of the Vice-president relocated.
The government plans to expand the president’s office by relocating Nepal Police Academy from Maharajgunj to Panauti in Kavre, while the vice-president’s office will be shifted to a building in Lainchaur that houses the Social Welfare Council. The SWC will be relocated to the building of Central Child Welfare Board in Pulchowk, Lalitpur. The government plans to build a helipad in the extended space for the president’s office.
Minister of Communications and Information Technology Gokul Baskota, who is also the spokesperson for the government, held a press conference to defend the government’s move.
He said it was not wise to drag the country’s top office into controversy, as expansion and shifting of the offices was not for anyone’s personal benefit.
Baskota claimed that those blowing the issue out of proportion were against democracy. He said the existing space and infrastructure at the president’s office were not enough for around 175 security personnel deployed there. He said the office also hosts several meetings, such as presentation of letters of credence by foreign ambassadors.
The police academy has been shifted to Panauti where a brand new facility will be developed on around 880 ropani land with Indian assistance. The two countries had signed a memorandum of understanding to this effect on November 25, 2014.
“The new police academy will be built using Rs 8,711.38 million provided by the Indian government as grant,” said Baskota, adding that the 100-ropani space in Maharajgunj was too small for the academy.
Baskota also made it clear that the government was purchasing six vehicles for the president with the allocated fund of Rs 180 million, not one. “One of the six vehicles is a bullet-proof car for the president, while the rest are for her motorcade,” he added. “The office is actually in need of more vehicles. Recently, the president’s car broke down in the middle of the road, which was very embarrassing.”
He claimed that the government led by Sher Bahadur Deuba had decided to procure more vehicles for the president’s office.
As far as relocation of the vice president’s office is concerned, Baskota said the Ministry of Finance actually owned the land and building housing the SWC.