New Delhi: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Saturday inaugurated the first ever National Media Centre of India along with Sonia Gandhi, Manish Tewari, Bimal Julka and Neelam Kapur. With the introduction of the centre, now India also owns its own media centre where an impressive conference hall, workplace for the media, a library, cafeteria and high-speed internet are available like other big cities of the world.
The construction of the four-storied building costed Rs 60 crore and took three years to be completed. The building is situated in the center of the capital of the country on Raisina Road. The place is surrounded with many important government buildings and in the vicinity of the Parliament House and Rashtrapati Bhavan.
The Press Club of India and the Indian Women's Press Corps are right next door.
The cream sandstone and blue glass facade-building has glass-covered corridors on each floor, overlooking a garden at the centre.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, speaking at the inauguration, said the building was not only New Delhi's latest landmark but also "showcases our ability to keep pace with similar state-of-the-art facilities across the world. It symbolizes the vibrant mood of the existing media landscape in our country."
Though conceived in 1989 to facilitate greater interaction between the government and the media, the building plan did not take off due to changes in designs and concept. It is the first such media centre in India.
According to an information and broadcasting ministry official, the media centre is planned on the model of media centres in some of the capitals of the world such as Washington and Tokyo. Some of the offices of the Press Information Bureau - the nodal government agency for disseminating information to the media - will shift from Shastri Bhavan.
The swanky centre has a press conference hall to accommodate 283 media persons, a briefing room for about 60 people, 24 work stations for the media, a library, media lounge and cafeteria. The press conference hall and media lounge are wi-fi enabled, said the statement issued by the information and broadcasting ministry.
It also has facilities for live webcast, video feed to television channels outside the building, IT facilities for media persons working in the lounge, internet telephony and facilities for audio visual screening.
The media centre is aimed at further improving the dissemination of information about government's policies and programmes, it said.
"The effort is to meet the requirements of the international and Indian media for their professional and communication needs within the overall Government of India framework of information dissemination," said the statement.
Constructed by the National Buildings Construction Corporation (NBCC), it is built on 13,867 sqm.