The dilapidated Town Hall in Ranchi on Thursday. Picture by Hardeep Singh
There’s bad and good news for Ranchi residents, eagerly waiting to get back their Town Hall for the past two years.
First, the good news: Mahatma Gandhi Town Hall opposite Jaipal Singh Stadium in Kutchery will not be demolished for revamp. Instead, the civic body will construct a brand new one at another location in the city.
Now, the bad news: The wait will become longer as search for land, an arduous task in the state capital, is yet to begin.
Asked what prompted the change in plans, Ranchi Municipal Corporation (RMC) public relations officer Naresh Sinha said: “The state urban development department felt that the space in the existing Town Hall is not enough. It becomes congested during social and other functions. We have, therefore, been directed to look for a fresh plot — around three acres — to construct an all-new Town Hall.”
The district administration had declared the present Town Hall, which continues to lie in a dilapidated state, “unfit for use” in 2011. Then Assembly Speaker C.P. Singh had pulled up then urban development minister Hemant Soren in March 2011, asking him to direct his department and RMC officials to give a new life to the hall.
Thereafter, the RMC started preparing a blueprint for renovating the building to provide the much-needed space for meetings, seminars and other such public events.
But the project remained a non-starter, the reason being revised expenditure was never approved.
Finally, the glitch has been resolved and the same blueprint will work for the new hall — it will have five floors, with two meant for parking. The total cost has been revised from Rs 5 crore to Rs 7 crore.
But when will the civic body start hunting for land?
“At present, we have several projects in hand like the Birsa Munda Bus Stand in Khadgarha, revamp of Jaipal Singh Stadium, multi-storeyed vegetable mart at Daily Market, apartments for the urban poor et al. Once work pressure eases, we will start looking for land,” Sinha replied.
The Town Hall, in its good old days, offered space to city residents for holding social gatherings, political meetings, seminars etc. in lieu of a minimal fee.