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Govt's dithering leaves land in Bangkok idle

Last updated: 12 December, 2011
Anirban Bhaumik, New Delhi, Dec 12, DHNS: 2:10 IST

In what could be cited as a classic example of Indian governments ''expensive indecisiveness'', the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) has left idle a plot it had purchased in Bangkok in 1974, although as many as 12 teams visited the Thai capital to assess its utility in the past three decades.

The 12th team of MEA officials visited the plot in Thai capital in January 2011 and recommended that it could be used for building residences for Indian, thus suggesting a use that was, in fact, envisaged while purchasing the piece of land.

It overruled several other utilities proposed by other teams that visited the plot in the past. However, the fate of the property remains uncertain, as the MEA is learnt to be not keen on starting construction without resolving the problem of narrow access to it.

External Affairs Minister S M Krishna told the Lok Sabha recently that the construction of the residential complex on the plot would take “some more time due to continued difficulty in securing viable options to address the narrow approach problem that could have security ramifications.”

The dilly-dallying on construction of the residences has been literally expensive with the government spending a huge amount of money to pay for rented accommodations for the diplomats. The rent for residences of the staff of the Indian mission in Bangkok now stands at Rs 2.14 crore per annum.

The 4,524 sq mt plot was purchased at a cost of Rs 25.40 lakh by the government for the construction of the embassy residence. It could also accommodate the staff of the Indian mission in Bangkok. Though the property is located in the heart of the city and not far from the Indian Embassy, it is at the dead end of a lane and the approach to it is rather difficult.

The bottlenecks prompted the MEA to reconsider its decision to build a residential complex. After much deliberations between New Delhi and the Indian mission in Bangkok over the next eight years, the government decided to send a team of senior officials to Thai capital in 1982 to assess the plot.

The team recommended that the plot be sold off. The government, however, sent another team, which suggested construction of flats officers.

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