At 112 metres, the tallest building in the national capital — beating the 73-metres tall Qutub Minar — will be inaugurated on Wednesday.
The new headquarters of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) will open for business, even as controversy over its name has barely abated .
When HT visited the building on Jawaharlal Nehru Marg on Wednesday, a flurry of activity continued as laborers toiled hard in heat and dust at the eleventh hour preparations.
The boundary wall was being done up in red stone, the cemented areas around the building were being cleaned, the glass façade was being mopped, new potted plants were being put up and the work force was busy giving 'finishing' touches to the entire premises, not to mention the insides of the building.
Hurry to shift?
“The building is far from complete, why the rush? (But) the tenure of Mayor and the Leader of the House will end with elections due next week. They want to gain cheap publicity by such antics,” said Leader of Opposition in MCD House, Jai Kishen Sharma.
First to move into the new premises from the older haunt Town Hall will be the Deliberative wing, including offices of Mayor Dr Kanwar Sain, Leader of the House Subhash Arya and Chairman of the Standing Committee of the MCD Ram Kishan Singhal.
“We will apply for an NOC (No Objection Certificate) from the Fire department for the block which will house the Deliberative wing. We had said we will shift by the end of this month and we are going to follow that,” said Arya.
The Executive wing — comprising more than 6,000 employees working at Town Hall at Chandni Chowk and the Kashmere Gate office — is expected to shift in phases started from June.
What’s in a name
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) — which has the majority in the municipal council — proposed the center be named after erstwhile Jan Sangh founder Shyama Prasad Mukherjee while the Congress wanted it to be named after Mahatma Gandhi.
Names of several prominent political leaders from Congress chief Sonia Gandhi to former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee also did the rounds, causing the Lieutenant Governor of Delhi to suggest the simpler if less imaginative title: New Town Hall.
But with a clear majority, the BJP has finally named the building as 'Dr Shyama Prasad Mukherjee Civic Centre'. "We have maintained it from the beginning that it would be named after Mukherjee," Arya said.
The Congress has plans too. “We will rename the center, as no government office has been named after any political figure in the past,” Sharma said.