Two ministries battle for the 9-acre plot opposite Birla Mandir near CP

Ministry of Culture wants to build a library, Ministry of Tourism says a multi-level parking lot is needed.

Several projects, such as a library complex or a multi-level parking lot, have been proposed for the empty nine-acre plot opposite Birla Mandir, near Connaught Place. Two Union ministries are battling to claim the plot.

In 2003, the land was allocated for the construction of Lok Nayak Jai Prakash Narayan memorial library complex. Officials later found that in the Master Plan, the land had been earmarked as a green plot with a small parking area. At the time, the land was with Ministry of Tourism and Culture.

The Ministry's department of culture had allocated Rs 2.82 crore to CPWD to construct the library, with senior officials claiming that the land-use needed to be changed but the matter had not been taken up with Ministry of Urban Development.

The department of culture was made an independent ministry after that.

The Ministry of Tourism, meanwhile, held meetings with New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC). "The tourism officials stated that they need office space and, therefore, a decision was to be taken for review of allotment of land and to find a solution. Tourism Ministry demanded that NDMC build a multi-level parking lot on the land and give a few floors to the ministry," a senior Tourism official said.

The Land and Development department told the Tourism Ministry that land allotted to NDMC in 2000 for a parking lot and part of the land was given to the civic agency in 2003 to build a library. Later, the NDMC requested for cancellation of the allotment, which was accepted by the Ministry of Tourism.

When contacted, a senior official from Ministry of Culture said the land belonged to their ministry and a library would be built on it. "A library was announced to honour Jai Prakash Narayan. The department of culture gave Rs 2.8 crore to CPWD, but forgot to get the land use changed. We told the NDMC not to build anything other than a library on the plot," the official said.

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