National Assembly Secretariat is working to exchange office space between the foreign ministry and members of Parliament, whose offices are currently housed in a private building at Langjophaka.

Lack of proper office building and related facilities has been a major cause of dissatisfaction among members some of the Parliament. They had lamented the lack of individual offices, security arrangements and a proper parking lot in the present location.

Secretary General of the National Assembly, Sangay Duba, told Kuensel that a committee has been formed to study the availability of space. He said the committee, comprising members from relevant agencies including the foreign ministry, the department of national properties and the NA secretariat, is expected hold its first meeting on December 1.

The committee, he said, would present its report to the Office of Prime Minister and the Speaker for a decision. “We will see whether all the Members of Parliament can be accommodated in the National Assembly building,” Sangay Duba said.

If the Members of Parliament move into the National Assembly building, coordination of work between MPs and the secretariat is expected to be easier.

Foreign Minister Dr Tandi Dorji said that the foreign ministry would soon vacate the National Assembly building for Members of Parliament. “We are going to get out so that the MPs can have their office in the National Assembly building,” he said.

Currently, 33 members have their office at Langkhophaka. The offices of the Prime Minister, Opposition Leader, Speaker and Deputy Speaker are housed in the National Assembly building.

The suggestion to relocate the foreign ministry was proposed by the former Speaker Jigme Zangpo as well. However, the ministry had cited lack of a space elsewhere for its inability to move out.

The issue had also reached a meeting of the house committee in July last year. The members’ frustration over the government’s inability to relocate the MPs’ office was one of the reasons that had triggered the dissolution of the house committee.

Lack of security for MPs while they are in office has also been one of the concerns. MPs say that although no unfortunate incidents have occurred, they could not be complacent on the safety of MPs.

In the current setup, two MPs occupy a room at the MPs’ office. MPs say that if a visitor comes to see his or her MP, one of the two MPs has to leave his office room.

Earlier, the NA secretariat said that it had asked the Gross National Happiness Commission to allocate budget for the construction of a new building for the foreign ministry in the 12th Plan.

MB Subba