Govt to turn Ministers’ Quarters at Pulchowk into quarters for SC justices

Published On: May 26, 2024 06:15 PM NPT By: Bhuwan Sharma

KATHMANDU, May 26: The government is now going to bear all expenses incurred in the administration along with the facility of quarters for all Supreme Court justices for their accommodation. The government has decided to relocate the ministers who are currently residing in the minister's quarters at Pulchowk to the new ministers' quarters built at Bhaisepati and move the justices of the Supreme Court to the old ministers’ quarters.

Maniram Gelal, secretary of the Ministry of Urban Development, informed Republica that the government has decided to turn the old ministers’ residential quarters in Pulchowk into a 'Justices’ Quarters'. "The buildings in Pulchowk will be vacated once the ministers shift to Bhainsepati. The Council of Ministers decided to house the Supreme Court justices there in 2080 BS," he stated. "We are preparing to implement that decision."

Machakaji Maharjan, project director of Special Building Project Coordinating Office and Deputy Director General of Department of Urban Development and Building Construction, said that the Department has decided to shift the ministers’ quarters of Pulchowk to Bhaisepati by mid-July. According to him, more than 95 percent of the construction of the ministers' quarters in Bhaisepati has been completed.

An employee of the Federal Secretariat Construction and Management Office under the Ministry of Urban Development stated that the plan is to immediately move the three ministers not currently living in the Pulchowk quarters to Bhaisepati. By July, all ministers are expected to be relocated. Currently, only 19 buildings are available at the Pulchowk ministerial quarters, which cannot accommodate all ministers.

He said that there is a plan to move all the ministers to Bhainsepati by July. Pradeep Yadav, Minister for Health and Population; Hasina Khan, Minister of State for Health and Population; and Nawal Kishor Shah, Minister for Forests and Environment, are not living in the ministers’ quarters at present. They are currently living outside due to the lack of enough buildings at the ministerial quarters. At present, there are only 19 buildings in the ministerial quarters at Pulchowk. Therefore, all ministers cannot be accommodated in the Pulchowk-based ministerial quarters.

According to Secretary Gelal, out of the 21 justices, including the Chief Justice, currently serving in the Supreme Court, the Chief Justice resides in Baluwatar. Thus, 20 justices will be moved to Pulchowk, with an additional building being constructed to accommodate the remaining justices. The Pulchowk quarters are spread over 72 ropanis of land, with all operational expenses covered by a management office.

The management office also provides daily consumables for top officials including the President, Vice President, Prime Minister, Chief Justice, Speaker, and Chairman of the National Assembly. For ministers, the government covers costs for furniture, appliances, utilities, and other necessities. An employee of the management office says that about Rs 600,000 is spent on refurbishing just one ministerial quarters, each time a new minister is appointed. The management office spends around Rs 100 million annually on these expenses. Providing quarters to Supreme Court justices will likely add Rs 10 to Rs 20 million per year.

An employee of the management office noted, "All Supreme Court justices already have luxurious apartments in Kathmandu. Providing government quarters will only increase expenses. It might be more appropriate to convert the Minister’s Quarters into a state guest house for foreign dignitaries."

Overview of Minister’s Quarters at Bhaisepati

The Minister’s Quarters in Bhaisepati covers 96 ropanis and 10 annas of land. Each building occupies about seven annas. The quarters are well-equipped with a gym hall, swimming pool, community building, grocery store, and accommodations for security personnel.

Each building includes a yoga room on the top floor, a visitor waiting room and meeting room on the ground floor, which can typically accommodate 15 people, and dedicated rooms for private use and private secretaries. Additionally, a prayer room has been constructed in each building.

The design of the ministerial quarters reflects Nepali art, culture, and tradition. The government initially planned to move the ministers to Bhaisepati by mid-April 2022, but due to delays in construction, the relocation has been postponed by over two years.


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