Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation

The Brihanmumbai Mahanagar Palika or the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM) or the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) are the few of the names that the civic body that governs the city of Mumbai is known by. It is India's richest municipal corporation which also has the distinction of being the largest organization. It's annual budget is more than the annual budget of the small states in India. 

The main motto of the BMC is the Sanskrit sentence is "यतो धर्मोस्तुतो जय" which roughly translates to "Where there is righteous, there shall be victory". The motto is inscribed in the Coat of Arms. The Coat of Arms is a four panel shield supported by an intertwining floral border in gold. A lotus in bloom, an emblem of purity and beauty is at the bottom and a lion surmounts it. The panels inscribed as the Gateway of India which signifies the position of Mumbai as a gateway to India, a symbolic factory inscribed in a cog wheel which signifies the industrial importance and the fast-paced nature of Mumbai, the three sailing ships which denote Mumbai's pre-eminence as a port while a symbolized diagram of the building depicts itself as the seat of local self-governance in Mumbai. 

The Corporation Building is a Grade-II "A" heritage building situated opposite the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus at the junction of Dadabhai Naoroji Road and Mahapalika Marg. The Municipal Corporation of Greater Bombay was first created in 1865 and Sir Arthur Crawford was its first municipal commissioner. The Municipality was initially housed as a modest building at the terminus of Girgaum Road. In 1870, it was shifted to a building near Azad Maidan, located between Watson Hotel and Sassoon Mechanics Institute where the present Army and Navy building is situated. On December 9 1884, the foundation stone for the new building of the Bombay Municipal Corporation was laid opposite the present Mumbai Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus by the then viceroy Lord Ripon. 

If city historians are to be believed, two designs were considered for the building; one was the Gothic design done by the British architect Fredrick William Stevens and the other in the Indo-Saracenic design presented by Robert Fellowes Chisholm. The Gothic design was finally selected. The building was formally completed in 1893. The building is known for its 255 feet tall tower and the chief architectural feature is the central dome which rises to a height of 71.5 metres . Records also support that at these environs where the MCGM proudly stands today was once a "Phansi Talao" or Gallows Tank, where hangings took place in full public view.

Sir Pherozeshah Mehta and Sir Dinshaw Wacha were two prominent citizens of erstwhile Bombay who were members of the Municipal Corporation. At the entrance to the BMC stands an impressive bronze statue of Sir Pherozeshah Mehta who silently now watches over the roads, the Victoria Terminus and the traffic silently witnessing the growth of Mumbai. The entrance of the BMC gives a picturesque view of the roads and the buildings in front. 

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