Over a century after the iconic building which houses the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation headquarters was constructed,the civic body is planning a modern architectural marvel in Worli,to serve as a one-stop shop for all the engineering departments and double up as a back-up office in the times of any disaster.
Spread across 2.4 lakh-sq-foot area,the existing cement godown is being overhauled for the proposed engineering hub for all civic projects. Construction has already begun.
The administration is keen on turning this building into something as iconic as the civic headquarters,which will stand out from existing civic buildings that are either heritage structures or plain concrete structures.
City Engineer A S Kale said that all the engineering departments of the city area (Colaba to Mahim and Byculla) will be relocated at the new building once construction is complete. At present,the offices of the hydraulic engineer and the city engineer,besides the offices of the Storm Water Drains,Maintenance and Engineering,Roads,Traffic and Bridges,Building Proposal,Development Plan and Municipal Architect are scattered. Some are even located under Foot Over Bridges or at random places.
The offices scattered in this way makes it difficult for the administration and citizens to reach them,senior civic officials said. The hub will house all these offices and help in better co-ordination amongst the administration. It will also help the citizens, he said. The head of the engineering departments will,however,continue to sit in the present office at the civic body headquarters.
The new building will have a central engineering record room,a library,a control room,a tender room. It will be connected to the data facility centre next door. The data centre controls the computerised operations of the BMC which helps in facilitation of SAP,the web portal and other online operations including payment of taxes through web or SMS.
The idea of the hub was first floated by former municipal commissioner Johny Joseph following the July 26,2005 deluge and was approved in 2007. At the time,it had become impossible for officials and employees to reach the headquarters or their offices. This created problems in the functioning of the civic administration thus causing a delay in helping the citizens, an official said.
The building will also house dormitory where employees from the engineering department would stay in times of a crisis or disaster. This way,the engineering facilities can be manned round the clock without the officials having to worry about the external situations. There will be also stand-by power and back-up data.
The building is expected to be completed and open for operations by early next year. If successful,the hub will be replicated in the eastern and western suburbs.