The statistics is staggering.
Around 175109.55 square feet of built-up area spread over nine huge floors with an imposing 37-metre high façade costing Rs 84 crore.
Everything is impressive about this behemoth in the heart of the capital except a basic requirement: the building has no completion certificate even though it has been occupied a year ago.
It is the Metro Bhawan, the operational control centre, Delhi Metro Rail Headquarters on Fire Brigade Road in Connaught Place.
The DMRC “occupied” (read started using) the Metro Bhawan from October 18, 2008 but to date it has not received the ‘completion certificate’ from NDMC.
Equally surprising is the fact that despite being aware of the status, the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) has not taken any action against DMRC.
In its reply to architect Sudhir Vohra’s RTI applications, the Delhi Metro admitted that it had a bore well and a temporary sewage connection.
Said NDMC spokesperson Anand Tiwari: “The DMRC did apply for ‘completion certificate’ but we have refused it as the proposal does not comply with the building bye-laws.”
Tiwari confirmed that the DMRC has not asked for any permission to dig a bore well.
“All these permissions are necessary as according to our records Metro Bhawan is categorised as ‘office’ building,” Tiwari added.
As per NDMC Act 1994, buildings occupied without obtaining completion certificate and completion plan are treated as unauthorised construction and unauthorised occupation and action can be taken under various sections.
Also, the Delhi Urban Arts Commission (DUAC) has not cleared the Metro Bhawan.
Said DUAC secretary Navneet Kumar, “Any proposal comes to us through the local body. As we have not received any proposal from the NDMC, there is no question of DUAC clearance for the same.”
DMRC said their operational buildings are not under the control of any local body.
“There is an order dated February 2, 2007 of the Ministry of Urban Development which mentions all our operational buildings are exempted from control of local bodies. So we need not take permission from NDMC,” said DMRC spokesperson Anuj Dayal.
Dayal had a similar explanation for the bore well and sewage connection. But for reasons best known to them, the DMRC officials did not supply this information to Vohra under RTI.