Nearly 15 years after the foundation stone was laid for it,the New Delhi City Centre-II,next to the NDMC headquarters near Jantar Mantar,will finally open its doors this month. The 12-storey building will house the Commonwealth Games committee.
According to officials,the NDMC was looking for a grand opening ceremony for the structure mired in controversies over faulty design and corruption charges over the last decade. But first Prime Minister Manmohan Singhs bypass surgery,and now the election code of conduct have meant that the civic body had to settle for a quiet and low-key affair for the handover ceremony.
This building has been like a white elephant for NDMC, an official at the civic agency said. We had invited the PM for inauguration because we wanted to celebrate its opening his doctor refused permission.
And now that he is back at work,we cannot hold an inauguration ceremony because the election code of conduct is in place. It will now have to be a quiet get-together of NDMC officials and members of the Games committee.
Nearly 1,000 members of the Games Secretariat are expected to move into the building for the next 20 months at least the Secretariat will be spread over seven floors of the building. The interior work is mainly done and we will hand over the building anytime after March 15, the official said. The interior has been done keeping with the basic Games theme.
The building was first meant to house the NDMC office but was developed as a commercial centre later. Though the foundation stone was laid back in 1994,only 30 per cent of work was finished by its 1997 deadline. In May 1998,the National Building Construction Company (NBCC) indicated that it could complete the project only in 1999. The deadline was later extended to 2001.
But an inspection by NDMC revealed that there was trouble with the design of the 14 lift shafts experts said they could be dangerous. While the civic agency asked NBCC to rectify the construction glitches,the latter stopped work in 2001. Finally,NDMC terminated the contract and allotted the project to a private contractor.
The dispute between NDMC and NBCC later went into arbitration; the case is still in court.
Building first meant to house NDMC office but later developed as commercial centre
Foundation stone laid back in 1994
Only 30% work finished by 1997 deadline
May 1998: National Building Construction Company (NBCC) indicated it could finish in 1999
Deadline later extended to 2001
NDMC inspection found trouble with design of 14 lift shafts
Asked to rectify glitches,NBCC stopped work in 2001,leading to contract termination