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HindustanTimes Thu,21 Aug 2014

Landmark building with uncertain fate

Nivedita Khandekar, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, December 08, 2012
First Published: 23:26 IST(8/12/2012) | Last Updated: 02:12 IST(9/12/2012)

The Town Hall on Chandni Chowk main road, till recently the headquarters of the undivided Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD), was built around 1863, and has a clear Victorian-Edwardian architecture mark.

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The yellow and white building first started out as an educational institution but soon turned into the municipal headquarters. It also continued to house the European club and library. During the Mughal times, the area was part of the gardens laid by Shah Jahan's daughter Jahanara.

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After independence, the surroundings underwent a lot of changes. To start with, the statue of Queen Victoria was replaced by that of Swami Shraddhananda. There was a clock tower on the main road at the T-junction with Nai Sarak. It collapsed in the early 1950s.

"The clock tower - we used to call it ghanta ghar - was part of the Town Hall complex. When it fell, a platform-type memorial was erected at its place, barricaded by iron chains. When traffic grew, that platform too was removed. The rest of the exterior remains same even today," recalled Subhash Agrawal, a resident of Kucha Lattushah, half a kilometre away.

Circa 2012, when the unified MCD was trifurcated and the civic headquarters shifted to the Civic Centre, the fate of the building that witnessed key decisions that changed the fate of the city remains uncertain. "We have formed a committee to decide whether it should be a heritage hotel or a museum," said YS Mann, director (press and information), North Delhi Municipal Corporation.


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