Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation or the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai was formed in the year 1888 under the Bombay Municipal Corporation Act. It is India’s richest Municipal organization and governs the civic infrastructure and administration of Mumbai city. In fact, the annual budget of the BMC is more than some of the smaller states in the country. The BMC building is located in South Mumbai right across the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus and is a grade 2A Heritage Building.
The BMC is headed by the Municipal Commissioner—usually an IAS officer—who presides over elected corporators that oversee the day-to-day requirements of their respective constituencies. The Mayor, who is from the party at power, acts as the head of the house.
Arthur Crawford, the first Municipal Commissioner was responsible for creating the BMC in 1865. It was housed in a modest building in Girgaum from where it was moved to Esplanade. The foundation stone for the present building was laid in 1884 on the 9th of December. Frederick William Stevens, the architect who built the CST building, was given the task to build the BMC building as his design was the most liked.
The building is designed completely in Gothic style and has a grand feel to it. Standing tall at a height of 255 feet, the outer galleries of the building provide a panoramic view of the city. The center-most dome rises at a height of 71.5m. There is a huge winged allegorical figure at the Gable that represents ‘urbs prima in Indis’ (or the Foremost City in India). The building has a framed structural design with grandeur and monumentality as a distinct style. The council chamber has an unpolished teak ceiling. The structure has cusped windows, arches, and elaborately domed corner towers keeping in mind the tropical climate of the city. At the entrance to the building stands a brass statue of Sir Pherozeshah Mehta, who was the Municipal Commissioner in 1873. He drafted the Bombay Municipal Act of 1872 and came to be called the “Father of Bombay Municipality”.
The BMC building has never opened its doors to public. It is worth a visit though, to photograph or marvel at its majestic construction. In order to avoid chaos on the road while taking photographs, a gallery—called the “Darshan Gallery”—has been constructed right at the center that gives an uninterrupted view of both the CST and BMC buildings.