Mangaluru: “We shape our buildings and afterwards they shape us,” Winston Churchill had once quipped. The imposing Vidhana Soudha best sums up the observation . It is almost a metonym for Karnataka’s seat of power, just as the Capitol Hill in Washington is for US Congress or the Westminster, for the UK Parliament. Vidhana Soudha’s influence in the state is perhaps far more abiding and overbearing if one were to look at the sheer number of its replicas dotting Karnataka.
It all started in 2000 when the SM Krishna government decided to build an annexe Vikasa Soudha, in the likeness of Vidhana Soudha. This spawned a trend of Soudha copies, big and small. Vidhana Soudha is a secular edifice, showing features of British, Dravidian and Indo-Islamic architecture . So it simply represents the connect between people and the government, but I don’t know about Mini Vidhana Soudhas that are coming up in many towns.
Imitation may be the best form of flattery, but where Vidhana Soudha is concerned , not everyone is happy with the replication spree. Constructions should be in tune with changing times. Imagine if Karnataka had constructed Suvarna Soudha bigger and better than Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world, it would have attracted global attention and strengthened the image of being a hi-tech state. I think the whole idea of constructing the mini-Vidhana Soudha is to take the state administration to the doorsteps of the people. Having said that the long pending launching of the mini Vidhana Soudha in Mangaluru will most probably done next month, after the finishing work of the structure was stalled for few months due to pending bills, it is learnt.
According to sources, since there was a bill of Rs 2 crore pending to be paid to the contractor, the work had stopped thereby delaying further in its inauguration. Now it is learnt that some bill settlement is done, and finishing work is in progress, and we could see the brand new “Mini Vidhana Soudha” located near the taluk panchayat office in the nearest future, may be by next month. It is learnt that the foundation stone for this project was laid on August 27, 2007 by the then chief minister HD Kumaraswamy and deputy chief minister BS Yeddyurappa.
Earlier reports indicated that the building will be completed in March 2015, but as the completion is nearing, workers say that they can finish their job within next few weeks. The construction which is of 3,172 sq ft will house the Taluk Office, Sub-Registrar’s Office, Meeting and Court Halls, and few other departments on the ground floor, while the office of the Assistant Director of Land Records will be on the first and second floors. Record room and store room will also be set-up in the building. The complex has parking facilities in the basement. he earlier estimated cost of this project was around Rs 5 crore, but sources reveal that when the building is fully completed the cost could rise up to Rs 7.5 crore.
With most of the work done, only the pending work like finishing the courtyard with inter-lock bricks, final painting, interiors and minor other works are yet to be completed. So watch out for the opening date of this state-of-the-art “Mini Vidhana Soudha” !