Meghalaya will start constructing the assembly building to replace a 125-year-old Burmese teak building reduced to ashes 16 years ago, officials said on Thursday.
From March 2001, assembly sessions have been held at the state's central library auditorium and later shifted to arts and culture auditorium within the premises of Brookside, the house where Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore began writing his "Shesher Kobita" in 1919.
On Thursday, a high-powered committee of Meghalaya assembly, headed by Speaker Abu Taher Mondal, met to decide on a company to construct the building.
Mondal said nine firms had presented their architectural designs before the assembly's high-powered committee in the presence of technical staff.
"The committee will select the best among the nine designs and the chosen firm will be asked to prepare the structural design as well as a detailed project report for constructing the new building," he said.
However, the Speaker said the new building would not be a replica of the heritage assembly building in Gothic style built by the British in pre-independent India.
"We (government) targeted to start the construction of the new assembly chamber and the assembly secretariat within this year and complete it by 2019," Chief Minister Mukul Sangma said.
"We need to have an assembly building befitting the aspiration of the people and legacy of the state, keeping in mind that Shillong was the seat of power for a long time both pre and post independence."
Sangma said the proposed new assembly building would be built at the New Shillong Township in Mawdiangdiang, 12 km from Shillong, the capital of Meghalaya.
He said the central government had declined to allocate any funds to the State.
"The state government will earmark funds from its own resources for the building, which initial cost will be Rs 70-75 crore," Sangma said.