By the end of 2012, New Delhi will have a brand new National Press Centre that has been in the pipeline for over eight years, and has doubled in cost since that time.
On Monday, the Press Information Bureau (PIB) signed a contract with the National Building Construction Corporation (NBCC) to construct the National Press Centre (NPC) on a ready-to-occupy basis for Rs. 60 crore.
In December 2001, then-Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee laid the foundation stone for a state-of-the-art press centre. PIB then estimated the cost to be Rs. 30 crore.
In January 2005, the Information and Broadcasting Ministry approved a proposal to set up the NPC at an estimated cost of Rs. 35 crore, and inked a Memorandum of Understanding with the NBCC in February 2006.
In July 2009, the Comptroller and Auditor General's (CAG) report pulled up the Ministry for the “premature release” of Rs.7 crore in March 2006 as an interest-free advance to NBCC, even before the project got statutory approvals from the New Delhi Municipal Council, the Central Public Works Department and the Delhi Urban Arts Commission. While the Ministry had said the release was in accordance with its MoU, the CAG held that the MoU's terms “were faulty and not in consonance with the codal provisions.”
It will be located at 7 Raisina Road, adjacent to Le Meridien Hotel. The centre will have easy access to Parliament House, the Central Secretariat and prominent media organisations.