A great city like Delhi must have a good civic administration and all stakeholders should join hands to make it world-class, Home Minister P Chidambaram said on Thursday as he unveiled the tallest building of the capital housing the new headquarters of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD).
The 28-storeyed 112-metre Dr Shyama Prasad Mukherjee Civic Centre, built at a cost of Rs 650 crore, was inaugurated at a function attended by former Deputy Prime Minister L K Advani, Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj and Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, among others.
"A great capital city like Delhi must have a very good civic administration. This civic centre has been long overdue and we are truly proud of this magnificent building that will be a landmark in many many years to come," Chidambaram said.
"All those associated with MCD, Delhi government and the Centre will have to work together to make Delhi a world-class city and I appeal to the civic administration to give touch of quality in every aspect of the city like roads, schools, hospitals. We should never compromise on quality," he said.
When the infrastructure will be world-class, citizens will take pride in it and ensure its maintenance themselves, said Chidamabaram, who also took a round of the 'green building' constructed in an area of 12 acres.
Expressing happiness over naming of the building after Jan Sangh founder Shyama Prasad Mukherjee, Advani described him as a great leader and a martyr to the cause of the country. "I am very happy that MCD has decided to name it after him and the Delhi and Central governments also gave their approval," he said.
Complimenting the MCD for its "good work", Swaraj hoped that the new state-of-the-art building would provide all kinds of facilities to the citizens in a better environment.
Dikshit said it is an occasion to congratulate the citizens of Delhi. She said it is significant that the Civic Centre, with a number of energy conservation and environmental protection measures, was being unveiled on Earth Day.
The building, which will cater to 20,000 footfalls a day, will bring under one roof the deliberative wing and different offices of the civic body, which looks after 96 per cent of areas of Delhi. The existing MCD headquarters in Town Hall is expected to be turned into a heritage hotel or a museum.
The new headquarters of MCD has been constructed in an area of 1.16 lakh square metres with a concept of 'green building', which is designed for optimum utilisation of natural resources like air, water and sunlight. However, its construction had been hit by delays with the MCD missing several deadlines for shifting its offices.
Municipal Commissioner K S Mehra noted that the Town Hall building, which was constructed in 1860, used to cater to only 1.20 lakh people in 1958, when the MCD came into being. "With the population of Delhi touching 1.60 crore, the need for a new headquarters was felt for long," he said.
Leader of Opposition in Delhi Assembly V K Malhotra said that the centrally-located building between Old and New Delhi will facilitate the citizens while Delhi Finance Minister A K Walia said government will give all assistance to MCD to carry out developmental work in the city.
The foundation stone for the building was laid by Atal Bihari Vajpayee in 1994 and work started in 2005, with Malyasia-based IJM Corporation as contractor.
The MCD has signed an MoU with the Income Tax Department for leasing out 40 per cent built-up area with sharing of common facilities at an approximate value of Rs 1800 crore.
Some work at the building is still to be completed. It is being done in phases and the civic body will shift some offices like engineering department and Mayor's office even as work is on, officials said.
The Civic Centre has four six-storey blocks, one 28-storey tower block in addition to services block, water treatment plant and sewage treatment plant.
The installed system caters to the best engineering practices in energy and natural resources conservation measures. The building is provided with rain water harvesting, energy efficient lighting and day light sensor systems.
Water conservation will be ascertained through flow sensors and self-closing taps, officials said.
The Civic Centre has an auditorium with capacity of 1,000 seats, an art gallery, restaurant, a 33KV sub-station for dedicated and interrupted power supply, waiting areas, fountains, an open-air theatre, three halls for holding MCD House and Standing Committee meetings as well as a separate media centre.