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Modi to inaugurate new defence ministry buildings, vacated space to make way for PM residence

The Defence ministry offices will move to two new office complexes at Africa Avenue and Kasturba Gandhi Marg. The new office complex will be inaugurated by the PM Thursday.

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New Delhi: Defence ministry offices that have been functioning from barracks on Dalhousie Road near South Block since Independence will finally move to two new office complexes at Africa Avenue and Kasturba Gandhi Marg to be inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi Thursday. The space thus vacated will be developed for the Prime Minister’s new residence and office, as part of the Central Vista Redevelopment project.

Close to 7,000 defence ministry employees, currently working out of the Dalhousie Road space, will be shifted in phases to the new office over the next two months.

While the office complex on Africa Avenue is a seven-storey space and will house offices of only the defence ministry, the eight-storey Kasturba Gandhi Marg office — in addition to the defence ministry offices — will also be used to temporarily accommodate offices currently located at Parivahan Bhawan and Shram Shakti Bhawan till their new offices are readied at the Central Secretariat Complex.

The over 50-acre space vacated near the South Block will be used to develop the ‘Executive Enclave’ of the Central Vista Project, which, besides the residence of the Prime Minister and the PMO, will also house the office of the Cabinet Secretariat, said a senior official of the Union Housing and Urban Affairs Ministry, which is executing the Central Vista project.

“Together, it will be called the Executive Enclave,” the official told ThePrint.

However, it will take some time before work on the vacated site to build the PM residence and other offices start.

“It will take around two months for the existing offices to shift lock stock and barrel. After that the process will start — floating tenders for the project, selection of bidders, etc etc. It’s still a long way before the actual construction starts,” the official quoted earlier said.

Also read: These 12 landmark buildings will be demolished for Modi govt’s Rs 20K cr Central Vista project

Revamping Delhi’s power corridor

Currently, under the Central Vista Redevelopment project, work is underway to build a new Parliament and the Central Vista Avenue at Rajpath. While the Parliament building is expected to be ready by 2022, in time for celebrations of the 75th anniversary of India’s Independence, the Central Vista Avenue is expected to be ready by 26 January 2022.

The Central Public Works Department, the construction wing of the housing ministry, has also floated tenders for the construction of three office complexes at the site where the Indira Gandhi National Centre for Arts was earlier located.

“CPWD will be awarding the tender shortly,” a source involved with the project said.

The Central Vista revamp plan, one of the most ambitious projects of the Narendra Modi government to give Delhi’s power corridor a complete makeover will also include new residences for the Vice President and 10 new building blocks to accommodate government offices, including Shastri Bhavan, Nirman Bhavan, Udyog Bhavan, Krishi Bhavan and Vayu Bhavan.

The first three office buildings of the Central Secretariat complex will come up at the plot where the Indira Gandhi National Centre for Arts was earlier located. It is scheduled to be completed by 2023.

The project will be implemented in a phased manner by the CPWD. Gujarat-based architect Bimal Patel’s firm HCP Designs had won the bid in October 2019 to design the Centra Vista project.

(Edited by Poulomi Banerjee)

Also read: Central Vista needs revamp. But here are 7 non-Covid reasons why Modi govt has got it wrong


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